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When virtual reality helps fight pain

by archyde
Virtual reality is offered to patients wishing to avoid general anesthesia. It is also used during punctures and biopsies, in urology, in digestive surgery or in maternity for the placement of epidurals. Orathai Mayoeh/Shutterstock / Orathai Mayoeh

DECRYPTION – This approach makes it possible to calm the patient during small surgical operations or painful care.

like hypnosis, virtual reality can be used in the operating room in addition to local anesthesia. Helmet covering the eyes and ears, the patient is transported into a bucolic three-dimensional landscape, his attention held by a relaxing voice while the doctor operates. One of the benefits of this technology, which still has a modest role in hospitals in France, has just been highlighted by a study published in Plos One: it makes it possible to reduce the doses of sedatives administered during the procedure when the patient shows signs of pain or anxiety.

Scientists from the University of Colorado Hospital (United States) compared the journeys of around thirty adults operated on for benign hand surgery, with or without a virtual reality program. While they received fewer drugs intended to make them drowsy, the patients who benefited from the immersive program show identical postoperative satisfaction rates…

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