VR helps burn patients cope with imaging, treatment

2020 06 10 19 47 3769 Virtual Reality Goggles2 400

Virtual reality (VR) technology can help burn patients manage pain when they are undergoing imaging or treatment, according to a study published June 5 in Topics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

The findings are good news for these patients, who often endure extreme levels of pain as the result of burn injuries, wrote a team led by Dr. Mohammed Bermo of Texas Tech University Health Science Center in El Paso.

"Pain from burn injuries is among the most excruciating encountered in clinical practice," the group noted. "Pharmacological methods often fail to achieve acceptable level of analgesia in these patients, especially during burn wound dressing and debridement."

Improvements in virtual reality technology over the last decade have made it not only more available but also less expensive, and many high-resolution, standalone devices on the market can now be used in a variety of clinical applications, Bermo and colleagues wrote.

"VR has demonstrated clinical benefit as an adjunctive analgesic during burn wound dressing and other painful medical procedures," the group concluded. "The technique has proven useful also in preparing patients for magnetic resonance imaging scans, particularly in claustrophobic patients."

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