Reducing pre-procedural anxiety at Buena Vista Surgery Center

Reducing pre-procedural anxiety at Buena Vista Surgery Center

When humor and jokes don't cut it in making one patient feel less anxious before a procedure, virtual reality therapy does.

It takes a lot to make 32-year-old Marcus nervous. After all, he’s made a career out of performing dangerous stunts on his skates, and he was not deterred from pursuing his passion even a er he broke his tibia fibula during a stunt performance.

Getting that fracture xed did, however, make him extremely nervous. In addition to anxiety about the procedure, Marcus had a long-standing fear of needles. He was terrified about receiving the anesthesia that would help him relax and make him unconscious while his surgeon repaired the break.

Marcus arrived at Buena Vista Surgery Center full of nervous energy. He joked and entertained the nurses who were prepping him for the procedure to make himself less scared. His use of humor, which typically works in making him feel more comfortable, wasn't cutting it this time. He figured he would have had to just deal with his fear. This time, his nurses had a solution.

Fun and Games

After seeing how anxious Marcus was, his nurses suggested that he try out their new virtual reality headset. Always excited for new adventures, Marcus quickly agreed. Before his IV was placed, he began his rst virtual reality experience.

It turned out that knocking down little virtual bears was exactly
what the doctor ordered! Marcus was ecstatic and fully consumed by the game—so much so he forgot where he was: "I forgot people were around me and I was making noises while shooting the bears."

A er his procedure, Marcus told us, “Once they allowed me to use [the headset], it really calmed me down. I was by far relaxed and once they took it o , I was ne. Cool. Calm. My mind had been distracted just in time. I took it o right before the general anesthesia and then I was out.” The game le Marcus relaxed and before he knew it, he was dri ing to sleep.

The surgery was a complete success. Marcus continued to sing the praises of virtual reality long a er his recovery. He was excited about the future uses of virtual reality, saying, “Personally I would vouch for it all the way. I have a 9-year-old son and if it could keep me occupied it would de nitely keep him occupied."

Even the bravest thrill-seekers need some help conquering their fears. With virtual reality, Marcus was able to overcome his fears of needles and surgery so he could get back on track in performing the skating stunts he loves.