Virtual reality on mobile phones to reduce anxiety in outpatient surgery

José L. Mosso, Alessandra Gorini, Gustavo De La Cerda, Tomas Obrador, Andrew Almazan, Dejanira Mosso, Jesus J. Nieto, Giuseppe Riva

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


When undergo ambulatory surgical operations, the majority of patients experience high level of anxiety. Different experimental studies have shown that distraction techniques are effective in reducing pain and related anxiety. Since Virtual reality (VR) has been demonstrated a good distraction technique, it has been repeatedly used in hospital contexts for reducing pain in burned patients, but it has never been used during surgical operations. With the present randomized controlled study we intended to verify the effectiveness of VR in reducing anxiety in patients undergoing ambulatory operations under local or regional anaesthesia. In particular, we measured the degree to which anxiety associated with surgical intervention was reduced by distracting patients with immersive VR provided through a cell phone connected to an HMD compared to a no-distraction control condition. A significant reduction of anxiety was obtained after 45 minutes of operation in the VR group, but not in the control group and, after 90 minutes, the reduction was larger in the experimental group than in other one. In conclusion, this study presents an innovative promising technique to reduce anxiety during surgical interventions, even if more studies are necessary to investigate its effectiveness in other kinds of operations and in larger numbers of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event17th Annual MMVR Conference - NextMed: Design for/the Well Being, MMVR17 2009 - Long Beach, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 19 2009Jan 22 2009


Other17th Annual MMVR Conference - NextMed: Design for/the Well Being, MMVR17 2009
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLong Beach, CA


  • Ambulatory surgery
  • Cybertherapy
  • Mobile phone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management


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