Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of hypnosis in pain management during cataract surgery.
Methods: Male or female patients with bilateral age-related cataract who wished to have both eyes subjected to phacoemulsification surgery were preliminarily admitted. Immediately after the first-eye surgery, each patient was evaluated for pain using the visual analog scale (VAS), and patients with a VAS score >1 were enrolled. By using block randomization, the enrolled patients were allocated to either the treatment group, which received a hypnosis intervention before the scheduled second-eye surgery, or the control group, which did not undergo hypnosis. The levels of anxiety, pain, and cooperation were evaluated independently by the patients and the surgeon.
Results: During the intraoperative pain assessment, 5%, 34%, 38%, and 23% of patients in the control group reported experiencing no pain, mild pain, moderate pain, and severe pain, respectively. In contrast, in the hypnosis group, 18%, 56%, 15%, and 11% of patients reported experiencing no pain, mild pain, moderate pain, and severe pain, respectively, which showed significant differences between the groups (P<0.005). The evaluation of anxiety level showed that the mean score in the control group and hypnosis group was 11.77±0.32 and 6.64±0.21, respectively, revealing a highly significant difference between the two groups (P<0.005). The assessment of patient cooperation showed that only 5% and 18% of patients in the control group and 18% and 36% of patients in the hypnosis group showed excellent and good cooperation, respectively, while 47% of patients in the control group and only 24% of patients in the hypnosis group exhibited poor cooperation, revealing significant differences between the groups (P<0.005).
Conclusion: Hypnosis may be considered as an auxiliary measure in cataract surgery, especially for patients who experienced obvious pain during the first-eye surgery.
This is very interesting to demonstrate effects of a very brief (and, likely, cost-effective intervention) to reduce pain and increase cooperation during this surgery, reducing the need for other anesthesia with its associated risks. The applicability / generalizability of these findings to other types of surgical interventions and populations would be a fruitful area of investigation.