VR Reduces the Need for Sedation During Surgery by Up to 90%, Finds Research

The technology could provide a valuable drug-free alternative for pain management.

When we think of virtual reality it is usually as a fun entertaining activity. It turns out however the technology can have some interesting useful applications.

One such application is as a pain reduction method for patients undergoing locoregional anesthesia for orthopedic surgeries. The technology, it seems, significantly relaxes the patients reducing the need for intravenous sedation by up to 90%.

Called virtual reality hypnosis distraction (VRHD), the technique could provide a valuable drug-free alternative for pain management free of the negative effects of traditional intravenous sedation.

“Given the immersive and distracting nature of the virtual reality experience, this technology has the ability to act as a preventive intervention transforming local anesthesia into a less distressing and potentially pain-free medical procedure”, says Dr Dragos Chirnoaga from CUB Erasmus Hospital, Brussels, Belgium who co-led the research.

To test whether VRHD could aid during surgery the team looked at a randomized trial of 60 adults scheduled for orthopedic surgery. They put 40 of them through a VRHD therapy that consisted of wearing virtual reality goggles and headphones and watching a relaxing video.

The video showed content of a “submarine ride and life under the sea, with a calming voice guiding the journey and focused on slowing the patient’s breathing rhythm.” They then separated the patients in three groups.

By  Loukia Papadopoulos | Interesting Engineering

Image Credit: Depositphotos


About Peter Coffaro 487 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 25 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. Recognized by the World Journal of Orthopedics, Exponential Healthtech, and MedReps.com as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager, Distributor, and Vice President. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy, and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers digital orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing, and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry from Northern Illinois University.

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