The value of a brief, preoperative hypnosis experience was explored with a sample of 36 head and neck cancer surgery patients. 15 patients volunteered for the experimental hypnosis intervention. 21 patients who received usual care (no hypnosis) were followed through their hospital charts and were used as a comparison group. Hypnotic intervention and usual care groups were comparable in terms of relevant demographic variables. Postoperative hospitalizations for the hypnotic intervention group were significantly shorter than for the usual care group. Within the hypnotic intervention group, hypnotizability was negatively correlated with surgical complications and there was a trend toward a negative correlation between hypnotizability and blood loss during surgery. Findings suggest that imagery-hypnosis may be prophylactic, benefitting patients by reducing the probability of postoperative complications and thereby keeping hospital stay within the expected range. Recommendations are presented for a controlled, randomized, clinical trial with a sufficiently large sample to provide the opportunity for statistical analysis with appropriate power.
Randomized controlled trial