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December 29, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(18):1606-1608. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970350022006

• The advantages of hypnosis as an alternative to conventional anesthesia in special instances are illustrated by accounts of five cases. In a pregnant woman about six weeks before term, the onset of poliomyelitis caused paralyses so extensive as to require tracheostomy and continuous respiratory assistance; when it was decided that labor should be induced, hypnosis was tried and found adequate for the delivery of a 2,664.9-gm. infant by low forceps. In a dental patient who had been insisting on general anesthesia after severe reactions to a local anesthetic, hypnosis solved the immediate problem and eventually diminished the patient's fear of dentistry. In a severe case of epilepsy, hypnosis sufficed for the craniotomy and excision of the epileptogenic focus in the temporal lobe after procaine was injected for the scalp incision. Hypnosis was found adequate similarly in a man who needed extensive débridement and grafting after thermal burns covering 45% of his body surface and in a girl who needed gynecologic surgery in the presence of severe congenital heart disease. The disadvantages of hypnosis, that it requires skill, is time-consuming, carries psychological risks, and fails in some subjects, are offset by its advantages in special cases. Its indiscriminate use in uncomplicated cases is not recommended.