Background: Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) after general anesthesia and surgery may have an incidence as high as 70% irrespective of antiemetic drug therapy. The use of preoperative hypnosis and mental preparation by means of an audio tape was investigated in the prophylaxis of nausea and vomiting before elective breast reduction surgery. Similar interventions have not been found in the literature.
Methods: Fifty women were randomized to a control group or a hypnosis group; the latter listened to an audio tape daily 4-6 days prior to surgery. A hypnotic induction was followed by suggestions as to how to relax and experience states incompatible with nausea and vomiting postoperatively (e.g. thirst and hunger). There was a training part on the tape where the patients were asked to rehearse their own model for stress reduction. Premedication and anesthetic procedures were standardized.
Results: Patients in the hypnosis group had significantly less vomiting, 39% compared to 68% in the control group, less nausea and less need of analgesics postoperatively.
Conclusions: Preoperative relaxation and/or hypnotic techniques in breast surgery contribute to a reduction of both PONV and postoperative analgesic requirements.