Local doctors use virtual reality to reduce patient anxiety

Virtual reality the technology is being used at Cypress Heart & Vascular Center for patients undergoing varicose vein treatments.

CYPRESS, TEXAS - Have you ever put on virtual reality goggles?

Now the technology is being used at Cypress Heart & Vascular Center for patients undergoing varicose vein treatments.

Doctors say the procedures can be really painful, so the immersive technology helps reduce anxiety.

“When you immerse the patient and start hypnotizing them with the virtual reality goggles, they’re totally different and their satisfaction is day and night different,” said Dr. Fadi Alameddine. “The level of pain and anxiety is at least 60-70 percent less.”

Alameddine uses VR through a Houston-based company called Oncomfort.

Oncomfort co-founder Joowon Kim says they have several VR modules designed for patients who deal with acute pain during different kinds of procedures.

One of the interactive virtual realities is for children battling cancer. It teaches them about chemotherapy and allows them to help doctors fight cancer.

“You’re not just being an observer of the treatment, they are actively participating in healing their body. That really empowers them and gives them a chance to learn what’s happening to them,” Kim said.

Kim says Oncomfort is currently being used for women fighting breast cancer in Belgium and France. 

While trials are underway in Europe, patients here in Texas are already weighing in on the product.

“It distracted from the pain I had,” Leonard Stanford said. “It was like 9-10 going it, it was like 5-4 after going on the VR machine.”

“You still experience some of the discomfort but it distracted me enough so that I could focus on my breathing and focus on the music,” Carole Nemec said.

(© 2016 KHOU)


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