for people ages 18-75 (full criteria)
Healthy Volunteers
healthy people welcome
at San Francisco, California
study started
completion around
Principal Investigator
by Sakura Kinjo, M.D.
Headshot of Sakura Kinjo
Sakura Kinjo



We will investigate whether the use of Virtual Reality (VR) preoperatively and intraoperatively can help treat pain and anxiety, as measured by patient feedback, vital signs trends, and the amounts of anesthetics, pain medications and anxiolytics used during surgical procedures. The VR intervention will be studied during short hand surgeries normally performed using local anesthesia and sedation.


Virtual Reality (VR) is a powerful and inexpensive technology that has been effectively used in healthcare settings to treat anxiety and pain, with minimal side effects. In the last two decades, opioid abuse and deaths related to opioids have increased, and opioid naive patients are at increased risk of opioid abuse when opioids are used during their surgical procedures. In addition, anesthetics, anxiolytics and analgesics, namely opioids, have a myriad of side effects that worsen patient experience, and lead to complications and increased costs. There are limited studies on the use of VR in the perioperative setting. Our study is a randomized controlled trial to investigate the use of VR to treat anxiety and pain in perioperative settings. We will recruit 56 patients, 28 in the control group and 28 in the VR group, undergoing short (<2 hrs) hand or upper extremity surgeries under local anesthesia and monitored anesthesia care (MAC). The control group will receive standard anesthetic management and the VR group will be exposed to VR in the preoperative setting and during the surgical procedure, using the clinically validated AppliedVR software. The data collected will included satisfaction questionnaires and pain scores for anxiety/pain pre- and post- procedure, vital signs trends to assess sympathetic response during surgery, and amount of anesthetics used. We hypothesize that the VR group will show decreased anxiety and pain, increased satisfaction, and decreased use of anesthetics during the procedure.


Perioperative Pain, Perioperative Anxiety, Pain, Anxiety, Intraoperative Care, Anxiety Disorders, Virtual Reality Distraction


You can join if…

Open to people ages 18-75

  1. 18 years old or older and less or equal to 75 years old.
  2. ASA physical status I-II.
  3. English speaking.
  4. Undergoing elective surgery with local anesthetic with sedation.
  5. Surgical time less than 2 hours.

You CAN'T join if...

  1. ASA physical status III or above.
  2. Allergy to fentanyl, midazolam or propofol.
  3. History of seizure, migraines.
  4. Chronic Pain Syndrome.
  5. Use of high dose opioids or long acting opioids.
  6. Severe anxiety, on daily anxiolytics.
  7. Psychiatric comorbidities that preclude the use of VR.
  8. Physical disabilities that preclude the use of VR technology in a comfortable manner.
  9. Patient refusal.


  • UCSF Orthopedic Institute accepting new patients
    San Francisco California 94158 United States

Lead Scientist at UCSF

  • Sakura Kinjo, M.D.
    Dr. Sakura Kinjo is an anesthesiologist who specializes in regional anesthesia (injections to relieve or prevent pain in a specific part of the body) and acute pain management. She has served as the UCSF Orthopaedic Institute's anesthesia medical director since it opened in 2009. In her research, Kinjo is particularly interested in pain management.


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Francisco
Study Type
Expecting 56 study participants
Last Updated