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A patient’s study brings stress balls to Elmsleigh House!

September 22, 2017

Professor Mark Whiteley, Consultant Vascular Surgeon at The Whiteley Clinic in Guildford and a patient at Elmsleigh House, told us about a study he lead on easing pain and anxiety during surgery.

In conjunction with the University of Surrey the study looked at the effect of different distraction techniques on 398 patients undergoing vascular surgery at The Whiteley Clinic. Patients were split into four groups to trial different distraction techniques to help them relax and reduce pain during varicose vein surgery. Anxiety and pain levels were measured via a short questionnaire completed immediately after the operation.

Findings showed that:

  • The group that watched a DVD showed 25% less anxiety than those who received treatment as usual, but no difference in pain
  • The group that interacted with a dedicated nurse present throughout the procedure showed 30% less anxiety and 16% less pain than those who received usual treatment
  • The group that used stress balls to squeeze in each hand whenever they were feeling anxious or if they felt uncomfortable showed 18% less anxiety and 22% less pain than those who received usual treatment
  • The group that were played music during their surgery reported this had no effect on anxiety or pain.

The team of researchers focused on varicose vein surgery as this is usually performed with the patient awake and under local anaesthetic. Although the procedure is highly effective and safe, patients often experience anxiety as they are aware of everything that is happening.

Professor Whiteley said “Since performing the first keyhole varicose vein operation in the UK in March 1999, The Whiteley Clinic has been at the forefront of research into getting the very best results for our patients.... Over the last 5 years our technical results have become so good and our patients’ satisfaction so high, that we have added the reduction of patient perception of anxiety and pain to our research aims.”

As a patient at Elmsleigh House, Professor Whiteley recently told dentist Hugh Cowley about this study. Hugh is involved in all aspects of implant treatment at Elmsleigh House, as well as generaland cosmetic dentistry. He was very interested in these findings as they correlate well with his patients who undergo procedures while awake and sometimes under local anaesthetic.

As requested, we now have Elmsleigh House stress balls for patients to squeeze during any procedure to ease anxiety during treatment. Just ask one of the team before treatment, and you can take your stress balls home afterwards!

Source: European Journal of Pain (2015) 19(10): 1447–55


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