London: Hypnotism can aid cancer surgeries and many other operations leading to overall satisfaction of the patients. Scientists have claimed that use of hypnotism along with local anaesthesia on women undergoing surgery for breast cancer can not only speed up their recovery but also reduce the chances of its return.

The procedure could lead to more successful surgeries and quicker discharge from hospital.

However, the technique is recommended only for operations in which surgeons do not tug at flesh and patients must be "motivated", the Daily Mail reported.
       
The recommendations come from Belgian anaesthetists who already routinely put patients having breast and thyroid operations in pain-relieving trances.
     
In order to prove the technique's worth, the researchers carried out studies on two groups of patients.

The first group involved 78 breast cancer patients who were scheduled for surgeries, which included removing part of the breast.
       
For surgeries, 18 women were hypnotised and given a local anaesthetic that only numbed the chest area. The others had a general anaesthetic that knocked them out completely.
       
Those that were hypnotised spent five or six minutes more under the surgeon's knife but needed fewer powerful pain-relieving drugs when recovering afterwards.
       
They were also discharged nearly a day earlier, on average, the researchers told the European Anaesthesiology Congress held recently.
       
Professor Fabienne Roelants, of the Universite Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Brussels, said: "In addition to reducing drug use and hospital stay time, being able to avoid general anaesthesia in breast cancer surgery is important because we know that local anaesthesia can block the body's stress response to surgery and therefore reduce the possible spread (of the tumour)."

In the second study, 54 patients had part, or all, of their thyroid gland removed. Again, 18 of the women underwent the gentler option of hypnosis and a local anaesthetic, while
the rest were given general anaesthesia.
       
The operations of the hypnotised group took about 20 minutes longer but recovery was quicker and the amount of time spent in hospital was shorter.
       
Professor Roelants said: "There is still a lot ofdebate around the exact mechanism that allows hypnosis to reduce pain perception, but what it absolutely clear is that it does so.

"The result is that one third of thyroidectomies and a quarter of all breast cancer surgery carried out at the UCL hospital are performed under local anaesthetic with the
patient under hypnosis."
       
The conference heard that for hypnosis to work, the patients have to be motivated, ready to co-operate and trust their doctors.
       
It could also be used on some knee, hernia, eye, ear, nose and throat ops, as well as in plastic surgery and when removing a woman's eggs ahead of IVF treatment.

(Agencies)