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Worthing patient chooses hypnosis over anaesthetic for ankle op
A hospital patient ditched the anaesthetic for his operation and opted to use hypnosis instead.
Alex Lenkei left consultant surgeon Dominic Neilsen startled when he calmly asked “how’s it going?” during surgery to replace his ankle.
The 66-year-old from Worthing had chosed to forgo the traditional drugs to make him unconscious and instead sedated himself by using mind over matter.
At one point during the two-hour operation, Mr Lenkei also made a casual comment about the noise of the saw – which was cutting through his bone.
Mr Lenkei, who suffers from osteoarthritis, has now used hypnosis in six operations, including one on his hand at Worthing Hospital in 2008.
Mr Neilsen, who performed the latest operation at Epsom Hospital in Surrey, said it was “nerve-wracking” making the first incision.
He said: “He did amazingly well with the whole thing,”
“To be honest, it was just like doing any other operation.
Alex went through the process, which took a very short period of time, and he told us he was ready to go ahead.
“It was then a case of getting on and doing the operation.
“It sort of went out of my mind that he was awake and able to correspond.
“He made a couple of comments during the operation which obviously reminded us that it was a strange experience.
He commented at one point on the noise of the saws and was just asking how it was going. It was very strange.
“He seemed to just put himself into a trance if you like and just lay there and didn’t have any problems at all.
“It certainly was a bit nerve-wracking making the first cut, not being sure whether he would be able to feel it, but once we got through that bit it became very much like doing any other ankle replacement.”
An anaesthetist was on hand in case the hypnosis failed during the operation - which is performed by removing the worn-out ankle joint and placing an implant on the end of the shin bone and the top of the ankle bone.
Mr Lenkei, a trained hypnotherapist said that while he could feel surgeons manipulating his ankle and could hear all of the noises, he could not feel any pain during the operation, which was carried out last month.
He said: “I asked them if I could do the operation with hypnosis. They agreed because they realised I’ve got a track record and I’m capable of doing it.
“I’m not averse to anaesthetic – it’s just that my pain control is a hell of a lot better than the medical profession’s and I heal a lot quicker because my body doesn’t have to get rid of all of the chemicals.
Most doctors are scared because obviously it is not something that they come across in the medical profession, as such.”
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