Hypnosis-Assisted Awake Craniotomy for Eloquent Brain Tumors: Advantages and Pitfalls

Cancers (Basel). 2024 May 5;16(9):1784. doi: 10.3390/cancers16091784.


Background: Awake craniotomy (AC) is recommended for the resection of tumors in eloquent areas. It is traditionally performed under monitored anesthesia care (MAC), which relies on hypnotics and opioids. Hypnosis-assisted AC (HAAC) is an emerging technique that aims to provide psychological support while reducing the need for pharmacological sedation and analgesia. We aimed to compare the characteristics and outcomes of patients who underwent AC under HAAC or MAC.

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the clinical, anesthetic, surgical, and neuropsychological data of patients who underwent awake surgical resection of eloquent brain tumors under HAAC or MAC. We used Mann-Whitney U tests, Wilcoxon signed-rank tests, and repeated-measures analyses of variance to identify statistically significant differences at the 0.05 level.

Results: A total of 22 patients were analyzed, 14 in the HAAC group and 8 in the MAC group. Demographic, radiological, and surgical characteristics as well as postoperative outcomes were similar. Patients in the HAAC group received less remifentanil (p = 0.047) and propofol (p = 0.002), but more dexmedetomidine (p = 0.025). None of them received ketamine as a rescue analgesic. Although patients in the HAAC group experienced higher levels of perioperative pain (p < 0.05), they reported decreasing stress levels (p = 0.04) and greater levels of satisfaction (p = 0.02).

Conclusion: HAAC is a safe alternative to MAC as it reduces perioperative stress and increases overall satisfaction. Further research is necessary to assess whether hypnosis is clinically beneficial.

Keywords: anesthesia; awake craniotomy; brain neoplasms; brain tumor; eloquent area; hypno-sedation; hypnosis; monitored anesthesia care.

Grants and funding

This work was funded with a donation to the Lundin Family Brain Tumor Centre under the auspices of the Foundation CHUV of the University Hospital of Lausanne.