Woman anaesthetised by hypnosis before cancer surgery

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A woman in Italy was successfully anaesthetised via hypnosis ahead of undergoing skin cancer surgery, in an operation hailed Thursday as a landmark by local media.

The procedure was performed in Padua by Enrico Ferro, Professor of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the northern Italian town's university. It took 10 minutes to hypnotize the 42-year-old patient, while the surgery lasted 20 minutes.

"When the patient was de-hypnotised, she reported no pain and was discharged immediately," Ferro wrote in an article on Anaesthesia, a scientific journal.

"Our case confirms the efficacy of hypnosis and demonstrates that it may be valuable as a sole anaesthetic method in selected cases," the professor added.

Speaking on RAI radio, Ferro explained his method. "You concentrate (the patient's) attention on a single thing," so as to distract them from everything else, including pain, he said.

Hypnosis is unlikely to work on 10 to 15 per cent of the population, he indicated. A further 10 to 15 per cent is "highly" sensitive to it, while the rest of the population has "average" sensitivity.

The woman who was operated in Padua fell into the "average" category, Ferro said.

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