But halfway through a routine ankle replacement procedure, consultant orthopaedic surgeon Dominic Neilsen’s patient unnervingly asked: “How’s it going?”
The patient, Alex Lenkei, chose to forgo traditional anaesthetic and instead sedated himself with hypnosis.
At one point during the two-hour operation he made a nonchalant comment about the noise of the saw which was cutting through his bone.
The 66-year-old has now had six operations using hypnosis instead of traditional drugs used to bring about loss of consciousness.
Mr Neilsen, who performed the operation at Epsom Hospital in Surrey, said an anaesthesiologist was on hand in case the hypnosis failed during the operation, which involved 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, from Worthing, West Sussex, said: “This is my sixth major operation with no anaesthetic.
“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.”