A HYPNOTHERAPIST from Worthing has undergone surgery without anaesthetic for the third time.
Alex Lenkei, 62, from Strathmore Close, underwent around 50 minutes of keyhole surgery on both ankles, in which surgeons sawed through bones as part of a procedure tackling his painful arthritis.
Mr Lenkei was conscious but in a self-induced hypnotic state throughout the procedure and listened to surgical gossip between the doctors as REM played on the stereo.
“It was quite good,” said Mr Lenkei.
“I could feel them operating. I could feel them moving the joint about and sawing through the bone, but there was no pain.
“It makes the healing process a heck of a lot better.
“Every time I do this stuff is surprising, but nobody is interested in doing any actual tests into what is actually happening when I’m under hypnosis; what prevents the pain.
“I just can’t understand why they’re not interested.”
The surgical team who performed the operation admitted they were amazed by Mr Lenkei.
Simon Palmer, consultant foot and ankle surgeon, said he was happy to perform the surgery under the unusual conditions, provided it didn’t delay his other patients.
He said: “He had obvious arthritis of the ankles so we cleared lots of extra bone which had formed.
“We were using small burrs and shavers, shaving away bone. It’s not the sort of thing you could have under local anaesthetic.
“There are only two small incisions, very small, but you are examining the whole ankle so you are inflicting surgical damage throughout.”
Not for everyone
Mr Palmer said he wasn’t sure hypnotherapy had a universal application –
“You can’t just send all your patients on hypno-therapy courses” – but said Mr Lenkei’s abilities were well worthy of investigation.
He said: “He is unique. An absolutely fascinating case.
I’d like to learn that skill … for my occasional dental visits.