VR headset-wearing surgery patients need less anaesthetic — Study

Virtual reality (VR) headsets worn by patients during surgery could help to relieve pain, a study from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre researchers has shown.

Their study revealed that patients wearing VR headsets required less anaesthetic during hand surgery.

According to the team, the average conventional patient requires 750.6 milligrams of propofol an hour, while those wearing VR headsets need less than a fifth of the dosage— 125.3 milligrams per hour.

VR headset-wearing patients also recovered faster, leaving the post-anaesthesia care unit (PACU) 12 minutes earlier than most patients.

“VR immersion during hand surgery led to significant reductions in intraoperative propofol dose and PACU LOS [lenth of stay] without negatively impacting key patient reported outcomes,” the team said.

The research team acknowledges that patients who went into the operating room wearing a VR headset may have expected the device to help, potentially adding a level of bias to the results.

However, the team is planning trials that could eliminate bias in their results. It also intends to run a trial to determine the effect of VR on hip and knee surgery patients.


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VR headset-wearing surgery patients need less anaesthetic — Study