Study looking into how hypnosis would help with pain management after colorectal surgery

Study looking into how hypnosis would help with pain management after colorectal surgery featured image

A CLINICAL nurse researcher at Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has launched an exciting study to test whether hypnosis could benefit patients after a colectomy.

Ana-Maria Toth is aiming to recruit at least 40 patients to receive hypnosis while they’re recovering from surgery, to check whether it helps with their pain and overall recovery.

Ana previously worked on Musgrove Park Hospital’s gastroenterology ward, before moving to a surgical ward, where she began to look at different ways of managing people’s pain in the days after surgery.

She said: “The idea of my study began while I was working as a junior sister on the colorectal surgery ward – Montacute ward – as I identified a few things that I felt might help with people’s pain after surgery, particularly after a colorectal procedure.”

“The current management for peri-operative pain is multi-modal analgesia (a combination of medicines), including opioids, which are widely used, but not well tolerated due to their numerous adverse effects.

“Pain management after an operation can be different for each individual patient, and we’re always looking for ways to control pain, which makes it easier for patients to get up and about and get back to normal food and drink intake – we’re keen to find out the extent to which hypnosis could help with this.

“It prompted me to think about whether there was something else we could offer our patients that doesn’t involve medication, so I started researching hypnosis and I saw that it had been used elsewhere, in breast surgery and for patients recovering from burns.

This research project looks at how we can use hypnosis to help with pain after a patient has had a colectomy operation. The main focus is on pain, but it also looks at patients’ recovery, their length of stay in hospital, how fast they mobilise, and get back to eating and drinking.

Hypnopal began in July 2023 and recruited 40 patients over the course of a year – recruitment phase ended in February 2024, 6 months before anticipated which proved acceptability from patients and an effective study pathway . 

Now we are analysing data and running statistical analysis but if it proves to be beneficial to patients, then there’s scope for an even larger trial to be run across the country in the future.

Ana is happy to answer any questions from colleagues, patients, or members of the public – just drop her a line on [email protected].




  • Acute
  • Acute > pain management
  • Acute > Research
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