The research from the University of Surrey in UK analyzed 398 patients, splitting them into four groups. The first group was played music during their surgery, while the second was offered a choice of DVD to watch from a wall-mounted monitor. In the third group, a dedicated nurse was positioned next to the patient's head to interact with them throughout the procedure.
The nurse was instructed not to touch the patient's hand during surgery, but to try and engage them in conversation.
In the fourth group, two palm-sized stress balls were given to participants once they were comfortably in place on the operating table. They were instructed to squeeze these whenever they were feeling anxious or if they anticipated or experienced any uncomfortable sensations.
Anxiety and pain levels were measured through a short questionnaire filled in immediately after the operation.
The group that watched a DVD showed 25 percent less anxiety than those who received treatment as usual (but no differences for pain). The group that interacted with a nurse showed 30 percent less anxiety and 16 percent less pain than those who received treatment as usual. Those who used stress balls showed 18 percent less anxiety and 22 percent less pain than those who received treatment as usual.
The team of researchers focused on this type of surgery as it is usually done with the patient awake, using a local anaesthetic. Although the procedure is highly effective and safe, patients often experience anxiety, as they are fully aware of everything that is happening. The study was published in the European Journal of Pain.

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