The Power of Love
involves magically grabbing someone's heart to kick-start it, right?
Despite what TV teaches us
, medicine isn't always clean, pretty and reliable
. It can be messy, and surgery is no picnic. There's also the risk to life, need for equipment and a sterile environment, aftercare, and a doctor to perform it. Some characters luck out though, their Hero Insurance
covers Psychic Surgery
Rather than open up the patient, the "doctor" sticks their hand into the patient, roots around, and then pulls it out with the problem well in hand.
The best part? No scars
, barely any blood, and a complete and instant recovery!
The doctor may be using Psychic Powers
(hence the trope name
), incredibly advanced technology
, a biological ability of their own, or outright magic. Hence the quotations around the word doctor earlier; the healer in question may not have any sort of medical degree, relying entirely on instinct or homeopathic/arcane/psychic training. Which is going to make any medical care when they're Brought Down to Normal
This far more invasive form of Healing Hands
can, however, be used to harm
A healer without a Hippocratic oath may pull out a spine to stop an attacker, or squeeze the heart to interrogate. Heck, being able to root around inside a person without surgical implements lends itself to so much Squick
it's best not to think of it. (Which, of course, means someone has
Anime and Manga
- A fellow with this ability shows up in Black Jack; he tries to claim the moral high ground over Blackjack, but it backfires because he didn't ask the right questions.
- In the anime of Shaman King, Faust VIII uses this to torture Manta. In the manga? He cut him open. After his Heel–Face Turn, he does this again to save a grievously wounded Ren.
- A self-healing version of this is used by the villainess Lucifer in Angel Cop. She reaches inside her own body to set some broken bones; she's also seen plunging her fingers straight into an enemy's head.
- One of Tyki Mikk's powers in D.Gray-Man, where he kills exorcists by pulling their organs out. And he also almost kills Allen Walker by putting his flesh-eating pet butterflies into his chest to bite a hole in his heart
- Used as both a weapon and a healing technique by medical ninja like Tsunade on Naruto. They can create chakra scalpels around their hands which can cut inside their enemy's body while leaving the skin intact.
- Sakura demonstrates emergency battlefield psychic surgery by cutting a slit in Naruto's ribcage, reaching inside his chest, and performing a cardiac massage to keep him alive.
- Elena and Beluna from The Voynich Hotel can do this, as they're a centuries-old witch (Elena) and a re-creation of said witch's sister (Beluna). It certainly comes handy when one needs to either put back together the limbs of a gir who's been torn apart, relive a hangover, or heal the injuries of a man who was subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture.
- Pictured above: In Green Lantern, Star Sapphire corps member Miri did this between the hearts of two lovers simultaneously, linking the heart of Soranik Natu to restart Kyle Rayner's, who had just died.
- In Batman Hush, Batman asks Superman to use his X-ray vision to confirm something he suspects—that someone has implanted a microchip at the base of his skull. Batman tells Clark to get rid of it, and he uses his heat vision to fry it without damaging the rest of him. Bruce endures, but the reader can see that it hurts.
- In Elfquest, the healers' powers. The negative use is also shown, with corrupted former healer Winnowill, who creates twisted monsters through shaping them against their will. Others, like Tyldak, who she gives wings, asked her to do it though.
- In the X-Men spinoff trade X-Men Legacy uberpowerful telekinetic and Knight Templar Exodus uses this to save Charles Xavier after Bishop subjected him to a Boom, Headshot at the end of Messiah Complex. Despite being barely alive and most of his brain matter being reduced to pulp, Exodus was able to heal Xavier completely by telekinetically reassembling his brain atom by atom.
- In The Matrix and Supernatural slashfic crossover Hunting Series during the second part The First Hunt Smith uses this to heal Neo who gets badly injured because of a vampire, after the hunt with Dean goes wrong.
- In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the head bad guy removed the hearts of his sacrifices this way, without killing them.
- The Matrix Reloaded ends with Neo removing the bullet from Trinity this way, and then restarts her heart by directly squeezing it.
- At the end of Man on the Moon, Andy Kaufman (Jim Carrey) travels to the Philippines to have his inoperable lung cancer treated by a man claiming this ability. He starts laughing hysterically when the "surgery" starts, apparently realizing it's just a trick. It doesn't work, clearly, as the next scene is of his funeral. Sadly Truth in Television-many people in the '70s and '80s, often, like Kaufman, with terminal diseases, were defrauded by such con men in the Philippines.
- Lucifer removes John Constantine's lung tumors this way.
- Penn & Teller Get Killed has a long sequence where Penn and Teller expose a fraud faith healer by recreating his act. The faith healer tracks them down and kidnaps them, threatening to kill them for costing him business, but it all turns out to be Teller's prank on Penn.
- The protagonist in The Boy Who Reversed Himself does this reaching through the fourth dimension, but does incisions to cover up her secret.
- In the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel The Book of the Still, the Doctor is rendered Brainwashed and Crazy by a device that's been inserted into his brain. Fitz is shortly thereafter rendered conveniently intangible (among other things), and the Doctor instructs him to remove the device for him. Fitz is then somewhat perturbed to find his hand covered in slime, and the Doctor thanks him "for not taking a bigger handful", which one supposes must mean the Doctor is now undeniably brain-damaged.
- Gerard the Lightbringer from Seekers of the Sky cures cancer by removing all bad cells from a body with his Word (a psychic power that allows to store and retrieve any objects in another dimension; for the rest of humanity, though, it's impossible to store still living objects using their Words). Notably, he is himself unaware that he is using the Word and believes that God cures his patients using him as conduit.
- The Black Magician Trilogy's healing magic works precisely this way - by making skin contact and re-arranging internal organs, putting bones together, and flushing out poisoned blood via the nearest available cut made by the healer.
- In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Fernanda del Carpio mantains contact with a group of supposed "psychic medics" who tell her that they'll telepathically operate on her. At some point, after arranging her room in a specific way and leaning down on her bed, Fernanda feels someone pressing a cold handkerchief to her mouth and passes out. When she wakes up she has a big ass scar on her torso... and there's a letter from the "psychic medics" near her table, saying that they did operate on her but the only thing they found wrong was a simple uterine problem that could be easily solved by a pessary. Turns out, Fernanda was so prudish while describing her symptoms, she misguided both the psychic medics and herself into believing her illness was something way worse.
- Used in The Sharing Knife books for very delicate work (like nerve damage), some internal injuries, or when the one coming to aid is both really desperate and out of all other options.
- The Bergmann surgeons in Stephen L Burns' "Flesh And Silver" purposely have their arms removed in order to practice this.
- James Randi appeared on The Tonight Show to demonstrate the hoax to Johnny Carson. He pulls out several pieces of chicken guts and jokingly put some "back in" because the patient would need them.
- Seen in an episode of The Outer Limits (1995).
- Michael Palin sees a "real" demonstration of psychic surgery by a Philippine con man in Full Circle.
- In Heroes, Sylar heals Charlie's brain clot with telekinesis.
- Angel had the evil form, the psycho psychosurgeon in "I Fall To Pieces".
- In Star Trek: Voyager, a homicidal hologram uses this to attack Be'lanna Torres at one point.
- In Riget, this is how will Dr. Bondo lose his precious tumor.
- Andromeda: After Harper gets infected with Magog larvae, he runs into a beautiful woman who is able to use a tesseract generator to reach into his stomach and pull one out, then offers to remove the rest if he gives her some valuable information. Instead, he disables her and steals her tesseract to do it himself, but finds he can't if he's in the tesseract himself.
- Subverted in 1000 Ways to Die. An episode featured one of the aforementioned Filipino con men of The '80s and The '90s, pulling the "psychic surgery" scam on his townspeople by pretending to perform miraculous healing while soaking up their money. Karma eventually caught up with him when he tried it on a leper from whom he caught the disease....
- Houdini & Doyle: Houdini fakes this on a man, convincing him he's been "cured" of his stomach pain.
- In The X-Files episode "Milagro", a psychic surgeon uses his ability to murder.
- In Vampire: The Requiem the vampires brainwashed by the VII covenant have the ability of "Psychic Surgery", which allows them to heal injuries in themselves and others by phasing their hands through flesh... or cause minor brain lesions to help brainwash other vampires into their covenant.
- Powers of this name existed in the 2nd and 3rd editions of Dungeons & Dragons. They couldn't heal hit point damage, but could fix auras, trauma, curses, implanted compulsions, and so forth.
- A skill associated with Blue mana in Magic: The Gathering, including a card with that name exactly.
- The Medic from Team Fortress 2 uses the "advanced technology" variant, combined with Worst Aid. This man performs open chest surgery with his bare hands on a conscious patient (who assists in the procedure by "holding his ribcage open), replaced said patient's heart after a "modification" he made caused the first one to explode, left a live bird inside someone's body cavity, lost his medical license after removing a patient's entire skeleton, and provides the trope image for Artistic License – Medicine... yet his ability to give the target of his medigun a temporary healing factor makes him vital to a team's success.
- Discussed in Dragon Age II: Isabella wishes Fenris had been on hand when her men got in a fight a week out from port and one of them wound up with a knife blade broken off in his shoulder, and his phasing powers would have allowed him to remove it easily. Fenris, however, much prefers to use his powers to crush internal organs, normally those belonging to slavers.
- In Fate/stay night, Kirei Kotomine is known for being particularly skilled at psychic surgery, and he taught at least the basics to Rin. While his techniques can be used to kill people, they require too much time and concentration to use in combat. Prior to the events of the story Kotomine uses these abilities to steal the Command Spells of Lancer's Master and transfer them to himself, and in the Heaven's Feel route he also uses them to tend to Sakura. In the later "all-ages" versions of the story, some "energy transfer" scenes that were originally performed through sex are replaced by Rin using psychic surgery to transplant part of Shirou's Magic Circuits to Saber (Fate), or part of her own Magic Crest to Shirou (Unlimited Blade Works).
- Used several times in Dominic Deegan, particularly when Azula had a stone of concentrated evil in her stomach removed by another orc who plunged his hand straight into her, leaving her unharmed.
- Mentioned but not used in The Dragon Doctors, a team of magical doctors. They were discussing possible options for removing an all-consuming sentient cancer from a patient. The problem was that psychic surgery requires bare hands, so getting rid of it with psychic surgery was out of the question.