November 30, 2023

Study: VR technology helps reduce patient anxiety prior to surgery

Editor's Note

In this original investigation published by JAMA Network on October 31, researchers have found that using virtual reality (VR) technology to give patients familiarity with the surgical setting and surgical tools prior to a procedure can help to reduce their anxiety.

The study included 74 patients, ages 18 to 69, who were scheduled to undergo elective surgery under general anesthesia for the first time. Participants were randomly assigned to either an intervention group, in which they watched an 8-minute immersive 360° VR video tour in the operating theater, or a control group where they received standard preoperative care.

The VR-based intervention group showed significantly decreased preoperative anxiety and significantly increased satisfaction compared to the control group. 

The researchers say larger studies are needed, but the results suggest that VR gives patients familiarity with the surgical setting and staff and can be a useful tool to help reduce their anxiety around this and other medical procedures.

JAMA (healthcare publication) Network logo


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