“Hypnosis can greatly help women cope with the stress of breast biopsy,” said Elvira V. Lang, M.D., associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Lang and colleagues studied 236 women undergoing LCNB at a university-affiliated medical centre. Seventy-six women received standard care, 82 women received structured empathetic attention with a person specifically assigned to be responsive to their needs, and 78 women induced self-hypnotic relaxation under instruction from a trained research assistant. The assistant read a standardized hypnotic induction script that, among other things, instructed patients to roll their eyes upwards, close their eyes, breathe deeply, focus on a sensation of floating and invoke a pleasant setting of their choice with all of their senses.

The researchers then compared several factors, including levels of pain and anxiety and procedure time and cost. All of the patients presented with elevated anxiety. Anxiety increased significantly in the standard care group, did not change in the empathy group and decreased significantly in the hypnosis group. All three groups reported pain during the procedure, but the empathy and hypnosis groups reported significantly less pain than the standard care group.

Procedure time and cost did not differ significantly among the groups even though the empathy and hypnosis groups had an additional assistant. The hypnosis group had the shortest procedure time and the lowest cost. “The findings show that nonpharmacologic means can be very powerful - without side effects,” Lang said. “This research embraces a holistic approach combining ‘high-tech’ with ‘high-touch’ that respects the needs of women during the stressful times of breast biopsy,” Lang said. She added that this method has been successfully applied to a number of other interventional procedures.

MEDICA.de; Source: Radiological Society of North America