SURGEONS at the Institut Curie in Paris have carried out more than 70 cancer operations in the last few months - using no more than a local anaesthetic and hypnosis.
The technique has been offered at the hospital for several months for patients who do not want to undergo general anaesthetic.
Many have been mastectomies, where the operation can last more than an hour, but others have been shorter procedures.
Anaesthetist and hypnotherapist Dr Aurore Marcou told Europe 1 she was involved throughout in calming the patient and speaking to them to get them into a comfortable mental state. Patients were conscious and replying, as she reinforced the feeling of well-being.
“We give them verbal suggestions to help. It is the same as when you get on the Metro and you let yourself relax by imagining you are in a more relaxing place.”
But, she added: “We choose our patients carefully. They are often young women who need to recover quickly. I remember, for example, a mother who needed to be with her children in the afternoon...
“We also offer this technique for patients who are very poorly, perhaps with heart or breathing problems, for whom a general anaesthetic is a risk.”
Patients are treated exactly the same way throughout the operation as if it had been with full anaesthetic and if they feel any pain the anaesthetic can quickly be given.
Operations are only carried out on organs where a local anaesthetic can be used – the arm, leg, eye or breasts – and are not possible for others such as the liver or heart.