The Effectiveness of Adjunctive Hypnosis with Surgical Patients: A Meta-Analysis


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Abstract

Hypnosis is a nonpharmacologic means for managing adverse surgical side effects. Typically, reviews of the hypnosis literature have been narrative in nature, focused on specific outcome domains (e.g., patients’ self-reported pain), and rarely address the impact of different modes of the hypnosis administration. Therefore, it is important to take a quantitative approach to assessing the beneficial impact of adjunctive hypnosis for surgical patients, as well as to examine whether the beneficial impact of hypnosis goes beyond patients’ pain and method of the administration. We conducted meta-analyses of published controlled studies (n = 20) that used hypnosis with surgical patients to determine: 1) overall, whether hypnosis has a significant beneficial impact, 2) whether there are outcomes for which hypnosis is relatively more effective, and 3) whether the method of hypnotic induction (live versus audiotape) affects hypnosis efficacy. Our results revealed a significant effect size (D = 1.20), indicating that surgical patients in hypnosis treatment groups had better outcomes than 89% of patients in control groups. No significant differences were found between clinical outcome categories or between methods of the induction of hypnosis. These results support the position that hypnosis is an effective adjunctive procedure for a wide variety of surgical patients.

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