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Guided Imagery for Same-Day Surgeries Reduces Pain, Meds, Time Spent

09 Apr

Researchers from Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, looked at the impact of guided imagery on postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing same-day surgical procedures.

Forty-four adults scheduled for head and neck procedures were randomly assigned to 2 groups for this single-blind investigation.

Anxiety and baseline pain levels were documented pre-operatively. Both groups received 28 minutes of privacy, during which subjects in the experimental group listened to a guided imagery compact disk (CD), but control group patients received no intervention.

Data were collected on pain and narcotic consumption at 1- and 2-hour postoperative intervals. In addition, discharge times from the postoperative anesthesia care unit (PACU) and the ambulatory procedure unit, as well as patient satisfaction scores were collected.

The change in anxiety levels decreased significantly in the guided imagery group (P = .002). At 2 hours, the guided imagery group reported significantly less pain (P = .041). In addition, length of stay in PACU in the guided imagery group was an average of 9 minutes less than in the control group (P = .055).

This pilot concludes that the use of guided imagery in the ambulatory surgery setting can significantly reduce preoperative anxiety, which can result in less postoperative pain and earlier PACU discharge times.

Citation: Gonzales EA1, Ledesma RJ, McAllister DJ, Perry SM, Dyer CA, Maye JP. Effects of guided imagery on postoperative outcomes in patients undergoing same-day surgical procedures: a randomized, single-blind study. AANA (American Assoc of Nurse Anesthetists) Journal 2010 Jun;78 (3): pages 181-8. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.