The Utilization of Hypnosis for Children Recovering From Surgical Procedures: A Review of the Literature

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In the United States, approximately 4 million surgical procedures are performed on children every year. Unfortunately, severe postsurgical pain is common. Patients who still have moderate-to-severe postsurgical pain 1 month after a surgical procedure are at risk for deterioration of their health-related quality of life and the development of chronic postsurgical pain. Despite the magnitude of effects that postsurgical pain can have on a child, it is often inadequately assessed and treated because of the wrong notion that children neither experience or feel pain nor respond to or remember painful experiences to the same degree as adults. PubMed, CINAHL, MEDLINE (R), PsycINFO, and Google Scholar were searched for current research and literature that examine the use of hypnosis to manage pain for children undergoing surgical procedures during their postoperative recovery period. Although the literature supports a paucity of hypnosis research in children undergoing surgical procedures, four studies were found suggesting that hypnosis may be an effective tool to decrease postsurgical pain for children. The current state of the science leaves many opportunities to improve on the postoperative pain management strategies for children recovering from surgical procedures.

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