Hypnosedation: Is it possible to have surgery without general anesthesia?

If you were told that there was a way to have surgery painlessly without general anesthesia, would you try it? Breast cancer survivor Kelly Painter did— and she has no regrets. “I would do it again, without a doubt,” says the Dothan, Alabama resident. “It really was an awesome experience, if you can say that about breast surgery.” A lobular breast cancer diagnosis Kelly came to MD Anderson for a second opinion in March 2017, after she was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer – specifically, lobular carcinoma in her left breast. As part of a clinical trial at MD Anderson, she received hypnosedation. This anesthetic technique consists of hypnosis (a type of guided relaxation exercise), opioid-sparing strategies and local anesthetic to control pain during a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy (a surgical procedure to remove the tumor). Her hypnosedation required expertise from our Surgery, Anesthesiology and Integrative Medicine teams. When Kelly had her surgery at MD Anderson on April 19, 2017, she was awake, but in a very relaxed state. This meant she could tell Alastair Thompson, M.D., and his surgical team immediately if she felt any discomfort. She suffered no nausea or other unpleasant side effects afterward. “It took a little longer than a traditional surgery because they had to numb the area with lidocaine,” Kelly says. “But even so, I was in the operating room at 8:30 a.m., out of surgery by 11:30 a.m., and out of the hospital by 12:15 p.m. I never even really felt hypnotized, and the worst pain I felt was a little pinch. It was mostly just pressure.” Kelly’s recovery was...

Hypnosedation: Is it possible to have surgery without general anesthesia?

If you were told that there was a way to have surgery painlessly without general anesthesia, would you try it? Breast cancer survivor Kelly Painter did— and she has no regrets. “I would do it again, without a doubt,” says the Dothan, Alabama resident. “It really was an awesome experience, if you can say that about breast surgery.” A lobular breast cancer diagnosis Kelly came to MD Anderson for a second opinion in March 2017, after she was diagnosed with stage I breast cancer – specifically, lobular carcinoma in her left breast. As part of a clinical trial at MD Anderson, she received hypnosedation. This anesthetic technique consists of hypnosis (a type of guided relaxation exercise), opioid-sparing strategies and local anesthetic to control pain during a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy (a surgical procedure to remove the tumor). Her hypnosedation required expertise from our Surgery, Anesthesiology and Integrative Medicine teams. When Kelly had her surgery at MD Anderson on April 19, 2017, she was awake, but in a very relaxed state. This meant she could tell Alastair Thompson, M.D., and his surgical team immediately if she felt any discomfort. She suffered no nausea or other unpleasant side effects afterward. “It took a little longer than a traditional surgery because they had to numb the area with lidocaine,” Kelly says. “But even so, I was in the operating room at 8:30 a.m., out of surgery by 11:30 a.m., and out of the hospital by 12:15 p.m. I never even really felt hypnotized, and the worst pain I felt was a little pinch. It was mostly just pressure.” Kelly’s recovery was...