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.
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