A recent study has shown that children who watched virtual reality videos before surgery were less likely to exhibit signs of anxiety. Researchers have found that children who watched a four-minute virtual reality video of a cartoon character touring an operating room, while explaining how things worked, helped to reduced preoperative anxiety. This was compared to another group of children who did not watch the video. These children were scheduled to have surgery under general anesthesia.
The virtual reality video, while helping to alleviate preoperative anxiety, also increased compliance during induction of anesthesia in children and was a great distraction during anesthesia preparations. Letting children watch a favorite cartoon before anesthesia and surgery is an inexpensive, effective and safe way to reduce anxiety.
Letting children watch a favorite cartoon is an effective and safe way to reduce anxiety before anesthesia and surgery. Playing with a favorite toy before surgery may also be helpful.
It may appear to be an insignificant problem to reduce anxiety by showing children cartoons. However, anxiety before surgery can be a significant obstacle, causing emotional trauma for both the parents and children. In some cases, preoperative anxiety can lead to lasting behavioral problems, such as nightmares, aggressiveness and separation anxiety.
What parents already know is that trying to interact with our children when “Cars” or “SpongeBob” is on television is futile. Therefore, distracting children by letting them “tune into their favorite alternative realities” seems to lower anxiety responses before surgery.