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Removed Under Hypnosis
30/11/2007 09:07 - (SA)
Susan Cilliers, Beeld
Johannesburg [South Africa]- A woman's tonsils were removed under hypnosis and
without painkillers or anaesthetics at Milpark Hospital last week.
Liesl van Dreau, 35, from Pretoria was able to eat normally almost immediately
after surgery and she recovered so quickly that she was back at work three days
later. She didn't use antibiotics or anti-inflammatory tablets and had almost no
"I had a sensation of pulling during surgery, but felt very little pain," she
The surgeon, Dr Kishen Dayal, said there was so little bleeding that he used
only half a swab to dab the blood.
"It's the first time I removed tonsils under hypnosis and I was amazed at the
result. This opens the way to a range of possibilities, such as doing biopsies
under hypnosis in the doctor's rooms rather than an operating theatre. This will
save theatre costs and minimise bleeding and the side-effects of drugs."
Van Dreau, who works at a publisher, was initially cautious about having her
tonsils removed under hypnosis. She is doing a course in hypnotherapy, where she
met Dr Ian Lander, an anaesthetist from Milpark Hospital, who also did the
Lander asked if Dayal would be willing to remove Van Dreau's tonsils under
"I was doubtful, but agreed to consult with her. After examining her, I decided
to go ahead using specific surgical instruments which would minimise bleeding,"
Before surgery Van Dreau had two sessions with Johannesburg hypnotherapist Tom
Budge to prepare her.
The procedure was done in a theatre and Van Dreau's condition was monitored
throughout in order to apply anaesthetics should it be necessary.
Drank Coke in the recovery room
"It took Tom six minutes to put me under hypnosis. During the 30 minutes of
surgery, he told me that I could control the bleeding, that I would not feel any
pain and that I was doing well. Afterwards, the whole theatre team applauded."
Dayal said it was the first time he witnessed an adult tonsil patient drinking
Coke in the recovery room.
Van Dreau was discharged from hospital an hour later - after a procedure which
is usually very painful and traumatic for adults.
information from the hypnotist:
with Liesl for two sessions each of an hour and a half prior to the operation in
theatre. We spent quite a considerable period of time during the first session
working on the control of Liesl's gag reflexes. This was done using a sterile
wooden spatula that is commonly used by doctors examining a patient's throat. I
gave Liesl suggestions in trance that she could allow the wooden spatula to
touch her throat without gagging. I then allowed her to take the spatula and to
insert it into her mouth and to press down on her tongue and to push up on her
soft pallet. With a bit of practice she was able to achieve this to a remarkable
degree of competence.
I gave her further suggestions to expect similar activity in her mouth during
the operation and that she would have just as much control then. In addition,
not only would she be able to control her gagging but the more the activity in
her mouth the more relaxed she would become.
There were moments during the actual operation when the suction was inserted
very deeply into her throat and then she wasn't able to overcome the gag reflex
and I became a little concerned that she might come out of trance. I
counteracted this with constant suggestions of reassurance that she was ok. It
was usually the surprise of the insertion of the suction that caused the gag so
I watched the surgeon closely and almost gave a running commentary on what was
about to happen so that she could mentally prepare herself for it. This strategy
worked very well and her gagging stopped.
Everyone in the theatre (some dozen or so observers) were astounded at how
little bleeding there was. Not only how little bleeding but how little saliva
too. I had given Liesl suggestions during our second preparation session to
control both bleeding and saliva control. There was one instance during the
entire operation when the suction removed a tiny amount of blood (my guess that
it was a tiny amout mixed in with about 1 or 2 cc of saliva at most).
Most of the medical observers were standing and watching in awe during the first
part of the operation and then they turned their attention to the life support
monitor during the removal of Liesl's second tonsil. They were commenting how
Liesl's blood pressure and heart rate would decrease as the surgeon worked at
cauterising the tissue. Anaesthetised patient's vital statistics usually
increase as these procedures are performed.