Virtual reality in the operating room or how to relieve the stress of patients on the operating table? Géraldine Zamansky, a journalist for the Health Magazine of France 5 has deciphered an American study on this practice that is beginning to worry some establishments in France.
franceinfo: Has an American study just accurately assessed the benefits of this immersion in very well reconstituted universes?
Geraldine Zamanski: Exactly. This studio it was performed by anesthesiologists at one of America’s largest teaching hospitals, in Boston. They proposed to patients who were going to operate on the hand, under local anesthesia, that they put on a virtual reality helmet. These kind of huge glasses really give the impression of being in “another place”.
and dr. adeel faruki He explained to me that this is exactly what he was looking for to reduce the anxiety created by the operating room. Those who have experienced it know that it can be impressive to arrive in this room full of technical equipment…
And in case of local anesthesia, the pain is eliminated, of course, but there are still noises, and sometimes the sensation of the surgeon’s movements. It’s all this stressful set that Dr. Faruki wanted to dispel, thanks to the trip on a beach, created by the virtual helmet! With very good results, since it made it possible to divide the amount of product injected by anesthesiologists by six to put patients to sleep, without causing the slightest additional discomfort.
Drug to put them to sleep, but did you mention local anesthetic?
Yes, but precisely, sometimes, if the stressed patient risks moving his arm while the surgeon is at work, the anesthesiologist may decide to put him to sleep. This happened more often for those who did not have a helmet. And above all, after the operation, the happy virtual travelers spent less time in the surveillance room. I’ll spare you all the related medical criteria and make it very simple for you: they were in better shape.
A benefit that Dr. Faruki hopes to confirm with the next study on heavier hip replacement interventions, for example. Because beyond the immediate well-being of patients, it is above all about reducing the complications linked to sleeping pills. Like respiratory problems for example.
So these helmets are not really a gadget as one might think at first?
No way. In addition, they have already found their place in the operating theaters of France. But of course, they have a cost that seems to slow down their arrival in the public sector more than in the private sector. Rennes University Hospital can offer it to its patients thanks to donations.
And after a very positive test of small interventions, Montargis Hospital will soon receive some. Hopefully the evidence provided by boston team will encourage hospital management to place orders! Either it’s a basic purpose, or it’s safe, even virtually escaping to the beach is a good idea to reduce stress, even outside the operating rooms!