Hi-tech headsets take patients to virtual paradise
Source: Mail Online
Patients undergoing surgery can now be ‘transported’ to tropical beaches and mountain lakes thanks to hi-tech headsets.
The virtual-reality devices are being offered as part of a trial to patients on local anaesthetics for upper-limb surgery at St George’s Hospital in South London. The service is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK and the hope is that the gadget will make procedures less daunting, and avoid some general anaesthetics.
Calming music is played as the headset shows images of tropical locations. ‘It avoids the need for general anaesthesia, which takes patients much longer to recover from,’ says consultant orthopaedic surgeon Shamim Umarji (daughter of Ismail Umarji Khunawala), who is leading the study.
Austin Mills, 23, from Putney, wore the VR headset during surgery to repair a broken wrist. ‘It was a mountain setting,’ he says. ‘I felt like I was really there – apart from the occasional tug on my shoulder.’