Hypnosis as adjunct therapy in conscious sedation for plastic surgery

Reg Anesth. 1995 Mar-Apr;20(2):145-51.


Background and objectives: Sedation is often requested during local and regional anesthesia. However, some surgical procedures, such as plastic surgery, require conscious sedation, which may be difficult to achieve. Hypnosis, used routinely to provide conscious sedation in the authors' Department of Plastic Surgery, results in high patient and surgeon satisfaction. The authors conducted a retrospective study to investigate the benefits of hypnosis in supplementing local anesthesia.

Methods: The study included 337 patients undergoing minor and major plastic surgical procedures under local anesthesia and conscious intravenous sedation. Patients were divided into three groups depending on the sedation technique: intravenous sedation (n = 137) using only midazolam and alfentanil; hypnosis (n = 172), during which patients achieved a hypnotic trance level with age regression; and relaxation (n = 28), comprising patients in whom hypnosis was induced without attaining a trance level. In all three groups, midazolam and alfentanil were titrated to achieve patient immobility, in response to patient complaints, and to maintain hemodynamic stability. Midazolam and alfentanil requirements; intra- and postoperative pain scores; as well as pre-, intra-, and postoperative anxiety score, reported on a 10-cm visual analog scale, were recorded and compared in the three groups.

Results: Intraoperative anxiety reported by patients in the hypnosis group (0.7 +/- 0.11) and in the relaxation group (2.08 +/- 0.4) was significantly (P < .001) less than in the intravenous sedation group (5.6 +/- 1.6). Pain scores during surgery were significantly greater in the intravenous sedation group (4.9 +/- 0.6) than in the hypnosis group (1.36 +/- 0.12; P < .001) and the relaxation group (1.82 +/- 0.6; P < .01). Furthermore, midazolam requirements were significantly lower in the hypnosis group (P < .001) and in the relaxation group (P < .01) as compared with the intravenous sedation group: respectively, 0.04 +/- 0.002, 0.07 +/- 0.005, and 0.11 +/- 0.01 mg/kg/h. Alfentanil requirements were significantly decreased in the hypnosis group, as compared with the intravenous sedation group: 10.2 +/- 0.6 microgram/kg/h versus 15.5 +/- 2.07 micrograms/kg/h; P < .002. In the relaxation group, alfentanil requirements were 14.3 +/- 1.5 micrograms/kg/h (ns). Postoperative nausea and vomiting were reported by 1.2% of patients in the hypnosis group, 12.8% in the relaxation group and 26.7% in the intravenous sedation group. Greater patient satisfaction with the anesthetic procedure and greater surgical comfort were also reported in the hypnosis group.

Conclusions: Successful hypnosis as an adjunct sedation procedure to conscious intravenous sedation provided better pain and anxiety relief than conventional intravenous sedation and allowed for a significant reduction in midazolam and alfentanil requirements. Patient satisfaction was significantly improved.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alfentanil
  • Anesthesia, Local*
  • Anxiety / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives*
  • Male
  • Midazolam
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Preanesthetic Medication*
  • Relaxation Therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgery, Plastic*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Alfentanil
  • Midazolam