Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Breast Cancer Surgery: Hypnosis Helps

1 Hypnosis Session Before Breast Cancer Surgery May Cut Patients' Pain and Ease Recovery
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 28, 2007 -- Women may feel less pain and have an easier recovery from breast cancer surgery if they have a hypnosis session first, a new study shows.

The study included 200 women who were due to get breast cancer surgery at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Specifically, the women were scheduled to get surgery for a breast biopsy or a lumpectomy (surgery to remove a breast tumor while saving as much of the breast as possible).

The researchers randomly split the women into two groups. One group of women got a 15-minute hypnosis session within an hour of their surgery.

The hypnosis session, conducted by psychologists trained to use hypnosis in a medical setting, included guided relaxation, pleasant visual imagery, and soothing techniques.

For comparison, the other group of women spent 15 minutes within an hour of their surgery talking with a psychologist who was supportive but didn't use hypnosis, imagery, or relaxation.

The researchers -- who included Guy Montgomery, PhD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine's oncological sciences department -- tracked the women during and after their surgery.

The women in the hypnosis group required less anesthesia medication than women who didn't get hypnosis.

After surgery, the women in the hypnosis group reported less intense pain and less nausea, fatigue, discomfort, and emotional upset than those who hadn't gotten hypnosis.

"Overall, the present data support the use of hypnosis with breast cancer surgery patients," report Montgomery and colleagues.

Of course, that's in addition to the use of anesthesia and painkillers.

Hypnosis also trimmed the hospital's surgical costs.

The operations typically cost the hospital $8,561 per patient, but the cost dropped by about $772 for the hypnotized patients, mainly due to shorter surgeries, note the researchers.

The study adds to other research that demonstrate that hypnosis "substantially reduces pain and anxiety during surgical procedures while decreasing medication use, procedure time, and cost," says an editorial published with the study.

"If a drug were to do that, everyone would be using it by now," writes editorialist David Spiegel, MD, of the psychiatry and behavioral sciences department at Stanford University's medical school.

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow