The study was presented November 29, 2006 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
Hypnosis, can help reduce a woman's pain and anxiety during breast biopsy. Dr. Elvira V. Lang, associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School, said "The findings show that nonpharmacologic means can be very powerful -- without side effects," The study included 236 women treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center who were randomly assigned three types of care while undergoing outpatient large-core needle biopsy. Seventy-six of the women received standard care; 82 received structured "empathetic attention" from a person specifically assigned to be responsive to the women's needs; and 78 of the women induced self-hypnotic relaxation under instruction from a trained research assistant. The women in the hypnosis group were instructed to roll their eyes upward, close their eyes, breathe deeply, focus on a sensation of floating, and imagine a pleasant setting. Before the start of their biopsies, all the women had heightened anxiety levels. During the procedure, 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 women in the empathy and hypnosis groups reported less pain than those in the standard care group. The researchers also found that the hypnosis group had the shortest procedure times and lowest cost.
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Adjunctive self-hypnotic relaxation for outpatient medical procedures: A prospective randomized trial with women undergoing large core breast biopsy
Received 7 April 2006; received in revised form 19 June 2006; accepted 19 June 2006Abstract
Medical procedures in outpatient settings have limited options of managing pain and anxiety pharmacologically. We therefore assessed whether this can be achieved by adjunct self-hypnotic relaxation in a common and particularly anxiety provoking procedure. Two hundred and thirty-six women referred for large core needle breast biopsy to an urban tertiary university-affiliated medical center were prospectively randomized to receive standard care (n=76), structured empathic attention (n=82), or self-hypnotic relaxation (n=78) during their procedures. Patients’ self-ratings at 10min-intervals of pain and anxiety on 0–10 verbal analog scales with 0=no pain/anxiety at all, 10=worst pain/anxiety possible, were compared in an ordinal logistic regression model. Women’s anxiety increased significantly in the standard group (logit slope=0.18, p<0.001), did not change in the empathy group (slope=−0.04, p=0.45), and decreased significantly in the hypnosis group (slope=−0.27, p<0.001). Pain increased significantly in all three groups (logit slopes: standard care=0.53, empathy=0.37, hypnosis=0.34; all p<0.001) though less steeply with hypnosis and empathy than standard care (p=0.024 and p=0.018, respectively). Room time and cost were not significantly different in an univariate ANOVA despite hypnosis and empathy requiring an additional professional: 46min/$161 for standard care, 43min/$163 for empathy, and 39min/$152 for hypnosis. We conclude that, while both structured empathy and hypnosis decrease procedural pain and anxiety, hypnosis provides more powerful anxiety relief without undue cost and thus appears attractive for outpatient pain management.
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