Perioperative Outcomes of Immersive Virtual Reality as Adjunct Anesthesia in Primary Total Hip and Knee Arthroplasty

Kelly S. Barry, Sindhuja R. Nimma, Aaron C. Spaulding, Benjamin K. Wilke, Klaus D. Torp, Cameron K. Ledford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Immersive virtual reality (IVR) is utilized as an adjunct to anesthesia to distract patients from their intraoperative environment, thereby potentially reducing sedative and narcotic medication usage. This study evaluated intraoperative and acute postoperative results of patients undergoing primary total hip (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) with and without IVR. Methods: Utilizing IVR as an adjunct to spinal anesthesia, 18 primary THAs (n = 8) and TKAs (n = 10) were performed. These cases were 1:2 matched based on procedure type, age, sex, and body mass index to those performed without IVR. Intraoperative and postanesthesia care unit sedative/narcotic usage, vital signs, and pain scores were compared. Acute perioperative outcomes, including 24-hour oral morphine equivalent (OME), first ambulation distance, length of stay, and 30-day complications, were also analyzed. Pearson Chi-square and Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests evaluated categorical and continuous variables, respectively. Results: When compared to non-IVR primary THAs and TKAs, those performed with IVR utilized significantly less intraoperative sedation (48 mg vs 708 mg of propofol; P < .001) and trended toward less narcotic usage (13 mcg vs 39 mcg of fentanyl; P = .07). In the postanesthesia care unit, IVR and non-IVR patients showed no significant differences (P > .3) in vital signs, pain scores, or OME received. Additionally, similar (P > .3) postoperative outcomes were noted in both cohorts’ 24-hour OME use, distance at first ambulation, length of stay, and 30-day complications. Conclusions: The use of spinal anesthesia with the IVR adjunct to perform primary THAs and TKAs appears to be well-tolerated and associated with less intraoperative sedative medication usage than spinal anesthesia alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-88
Number of pages5
JournalArthroplasty Today
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Distraction therapy
  • Propofol
  • Rapid recovery
  • Spinal anesthesia
  • Total joint arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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