Hypnosis in surgery has been studied as an adjuvant to conscious sedation, and a technique for pain and distress management. A recent review of such studies indicated that there is a growing body of evidence to support its use in the surgical setting. The studies reviewed reported a wide variety of potential benefits including decreased anxiety, pain, analgesic requirements, and postoperative recovery time.
Our understanding of hypnosis has increased greatly in recent years through experimental and clinical studies using positron emission tomography. Hypnosis has been proven via this imaging to alter the pain-evoked potentials within the anterior cingulated gyrus, and therefore alter the perception of pain.