Another study has found that using a virtual reality headset can potentially reduce pain or discomfort during medical procedures. The findings indicate that such technology may have a place in hospitals and doctor’s offices, possibly increasing compliance with painful medical procedures that patients may otherwise avoid.
The latest research on this topic is being presented at the European Association of Urology’s EAU21 congress. The study comes from researchers in Poland where they evaluated the use of a VR headset showing patients a beautiful Icelandic landscape while they underwent a painful procedure called a rigid cystoscopy.
A total of 103 patients participated in the study; they were arranged to undergo the experience with only intraurethral anesthesia. The participants were split into two groups: those who underwent the procedure as usual, and those who underwent it while wearing a VR headset and headphones.
The researchers used a variety of data to determine pain levels associated with the procedure, including self-reported experiences, observations of the patient during the experience, and metrics like blood pressure and heart rate. Using that data, the researchers found that the use of the VR experience reduced discomfort compared to those who didn’t receive the technology.
One of the researchers behind the study, Dr. Wojciech Krajewski, said:
Patients reported less pain, and this was also reflected in our observations of their experience. VR is certainly an option for pain reduction in cystoscopies and we are looking into whether it will have the same effect in other medical interventions such as lithotripsy to break down kidney stones or prostate biopsy.