Doctors are using hypnosis instead of anesthesia to keep patients calm during some surgeries in an effort to reduce the use of addictive and dangerous drugs.
A team of cross-disciplinary doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas are teaching some patients to imagine themselves in calm environments while surgeons make incisions and perform operations.
Anesthesia has been linked to a number of worrisome side effects, such as memory loss and immune system suppression in the aftermath - sometimes for many months - of surgery.
Like recent efforts to phase out opioid painkillers, more and more doctors and patients are looking for ways to use less of the expensive and risky sedative.
Doctors are using a combination of local anesthesia and hypnosis to keep patients calm during surgery, instead of giving them general anesthesia that's been linked to cognitive problems and weakened immune systems
Anesthesia uses a cocktail of several drugs, delivered in gas form, to knock a patient unconscious.
Each day in the US, some 60,00 people have surgeries while under anesthesia.
It's generally safe, with just 1.1 people dying of causes related to anesthesia for ever one million that go under each year.
But sleeping through surgery has varying effects - and for some they can linger.
Around 24 percent of people go through a period of delirium after waking from surgery under general anesthesia, according to a 2013 study conducted in China.
Some 15 percent of those said their symptoms lingered for at least three months after their operations.
And once people hit middle age, general anesthesia seems to hit the memory harder.
In fact one Duke University study from the early 2000s found that over half of patients who underwent bypass surgery suffered memory loss in the immediate aftermath of their operations.
They followed the patients for years afterwards, and found that 42 percent still showed cognitive declines five years after they'd been put under.
Of course, it's difficult to suss out exactly to what extent these effects can be blamed on anesthesia.
But it's enough to raise concerns for patients and doctors alike, who are increasingly trying to do more with less drugs on board.
'The general goal is to try to decreases pharmacological agents we know can case harm to