Hypnosis for the treatment of burn pain
Patterson DR
Everett JJBurns GLMarvin JA.

Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle 98195.

The clinical utility of hypnosis for controlling pain during burn wound debridement was investigated. Thirty hospitalized burn patients and their nurses submitted visual analog scales (VAS) for pain during 2 consecutive daily wound debridements. On the 1st day, patients and nurses submitted baseline VAS ratings. Before the next day’s would debridement, Ss received hypnosis, attention and information, or no treatment. Only hypnotized Ss reported significant pain reductions relative to pretreatment baseline. This result was corroborated by nurse VAS ratings. Findings indicate that hypnosis is a viable adjunct treatment for burn pain. Theoretical and practical implications and future research directions are discussed.


Impact of a pain protocol including hypnosis in major burns

Accepted 23 August 2009


Pain is a major issue after burns even when large doses of opioids are prescribed. The study focused on the impact of a pain protocol using hypnosis on pain intensity, anxiety, clinical course, and costs.


All patients admitted to the ICU, aged >18 years, with an ICU stay >24h, accepting to try hypnosis, and treated according to standardized pain protocol were included. Pain was scaled on the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) (mean of daily multiple recordings), and basal and procedural opioid doses were recorded. Clinical outcome and economical data were retrieved from hospital charts and information system, respectively. Treated patients were matched with controls for sex, age, and the burned surface area.


Forty patients were admitted from 2006 to 2007: 17 met exclusion criteria, leaving 23 patients, who were matched with 23 historical controls. Altogether patients were 36±14 years old and burned 27±15%BSA. The first hypnosis session was performed after a median of 9 days. The protocol resulted in the early delivery of higher opioid doses/24h (p<0.0001) followed by a later reduction with lower pain scores (p<0.0001), less procedural related anxiety, less procedures under anaesthesia, reduced total grafting requirements (p=0.014), and lower hospital costs per patient.


A pain protocol including hypnosis reduced pain intensity, improved opioid efficiency, reduced anxiety, improved wound outcome while reducing costs. The protocol guided use of opioids improved patient care without side effects, while hypnosis had significant psychological benefits.