THERE IS EVIDENCE that ancient civilizations induced anesthesia for surgical purposes by hypnotic suggestion. Systematic and extensive use of hypnotic anesthesia for surgery dates from James Esdaile, an English surgeon working in India. He performed hundreds of procedures under hypnosis before the discovery of general anesthesia in the 1840's
A great variety of general surgical, dental, and obstetrical procedures have been successfully performed without difficulty and without discomfort to the patient under hypnosis. However, hypnotic anesthesia is used sparingly despite its obvious advantages. This is due in part to the great advances in pharmacologie anesthesia, and to some special difficulties which attend the use of hypnosis for anesthesia. For example, lengthy training sessions are usually required to insure adequate anesthesia, and many surgical candidates can not attain such a state, or even be hypnotized. However, hypnosis has properties that make it the anesthesia of choice in special situations. This report
Nayyar SN, Brady JP. Elevation of Depressed Skull Fracture and Frontal Topectomy Under Hypnotic Anesthesia: Report of a Case. JAMA. 1962;181(9):790–792. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050350052016a
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