Virtual reality and its use in post-operative pain following laparoscopy: a feasibility study

Olivia Payne, Vinayak Smith, Daniel L. Rolnik, Miranda Davies-Tuck, Ritesh Warty, Densearn Seo, Lima Wetherell, Hamsaveni Kalina Murday, Amrish Nair, Rashvinder Kaur, Beverley Vollenhoven

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Pain following laparoscopic surgery remains a neglected healthcare issue. Virtual reality-mediated therapy’s (VRT) analgesic potential could address this. However, its effect in this setting remains unexplored. We aimed to establish the feasibility and safety of VRT as an adjunct analgesic following gynaecological laparoscopy and explore differences between active distraction and passive meditation content. 35 women were enrolled into an open crossover pilot and randomised to either intervention group 1 (active then passive content) or intervention group 2 (passive then active content) following surgery. VRT was administered in two 10-min segments with a 10-min washout period in between. Pain scores, opioid requirements and side effects were recorded before and after each segment whilst questionnaires evaluated acceptability. We observed a significant reduction in pain over time for the entire study population (F = 8.63, p < 0.0005) but no differences between intervention groups, in contrast to many studies demonstrating an increase in pain during this time. During segment one, intervention group 1 (n = 18) were administered significantly less opioid than intervention group 2 (n = 17) [0.0 (0.0–7.5) vs. 3.0(0.0–10.0), p = 0.04]. Intervention group 1 rated the VRT experience significantly higher than intervention group 2 (7.97 vs. 6.62. p = 0.017). 97.1% (n = 34) would recommend VRT to a friend and use it as the standard-of-care in future procedures. These results demonstrate that post-operative VRT is feasible and safe. However, adequately powered studies are needed to appropriately determine its efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13137
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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