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How Can I Use Guided Imagery to Make My Surgery More Successful?

03 Sep

Hello Belleruth,

I am having revision knee surgery soon and want to do everything that I can to get through it. The first surgery was very painful and unsuccessful. This time to enhance my recovery and pain control I would like to listen to your meditations/music during surgery.

I have "Meditations for Successful Surgery" on a Playaway and I just ordered "A Meditation to Help Ease Pain" on a Playaway too for my recovery. Do you recommend downloading one of these programs onto an Ipod and listening throughout surgery? The Successful Surgery program is an hour and a half. I will probably be in surgery for at least 2-3 hours.

Thanks, Jamie


Dear Jamie,

Sorry you have to go through this again, but hopefully this time you'll have much better results. It is good to play the guided imagery during surgery, although if you¹ve listened several times pre-op, you may not need to, strictly speaking. (Keep in mind that in the UC Davis/Penn State study with 335 surgery patients, those great results were gotten from patients listening an average of 2.5 times pre-surgery, and I believe they just had the music during.) So listening more than that, plus during surgery is kind of "gilding the lily" and more than enough.

And it does not have to play all the way through the entire operation for it to work. However some people like waking up to it, post op, and ask that the nurse have it playing in the recovery area for when the anesthesia wears off.

Either way, you're covered, so you don¹t have to sweat the details. Also, during your recovery and physical therapy period, you may want to check out Carol Ginandes' hypnosis for Rapid Recovery from Injury, which has many excellent techniques for lowering pain signals as does Emmett Miller's wonderful new Reducing & Relieving Pain imagery.

And finally, you may want to use imagery to imagine yourself doing things you love to do with a beautifully functioning knee - walking, striding, dancing, running or even just sitting comfortably with your new knee. The imagery on the Self-Confidence & Peak Performance audio is a good platform for that if you want one - but you may not need it, because I¹m sure you have a nice supply of those images and memories in your own head. 

Wishing you the very best of outcomes, Jane! Let us know how you¹re doing if you have a minute.

BR

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award