Author(s): Renzi C
Relaxation techniques positively affect the psychosomatic pattern of patients undergoing surgical treatment. Among these techniques guided imaging (GI) has been reported to improve outcome following colorectal surgery. This study assessed the effects of GI on the postoperative course in proctological patients. We carried out a prospective randomized trial in a group of patients operated on for anorectal diseases in our coloproctology unit. Patients were randomized into group 1 (n = 43) with standard care and group 2 (n = 43) with relaxation techniques; they listened to a GI tape with music and relaxing text before, during, and after surgery. The following parameters were evaluated by a questionnaire (a) postoperative pain measured by visual analogue score, (b) the quality of sleep measured by a similar score, and (c) the nature of first micturition, evaluated as normal or difficult. Groups were similar in age and sex distribution, type of disease, and operation performed. The pain score was 3.2 +/- 1.4 in GI patients and 4.1 +/- 2.1 in controls (P = 0.07). The quality of sleep score was 4.8 +/- 2.9 in GI patients and 6.4 +/- 2.7 in controls (P = 0.01). The first micturition was painful in 10.3% of GI patients and in 27.3% of controls (P = 0.09). Perioperative relaxation techniques thus showed a trend to reducing pain following anorectal surgery and significantly improving the quality of sleep; a decrease in anxiety and a consequent muscle relaxation may be involved. Therefore GI, a low cost and noninvasive procedure, can be recommended as an helpful tool in this type of surgery.