Alleviate Surgical Anxiety with Your Smartphone

Let's be honest — most of us do not look forward to surgery. While we understand it's the best option for our health and know we're in the hands of amazing, well-qualified surgeons, the thought of an operation can send some of us into a panic.

To alleviate their fear, some patients are looking to new apps to increase their knowledge of their upcoming procedures. These apps can help take away some of the mystery and ease their anxiety before surgery.

One app is TouchSurgery, available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. TouchSurgery provides animated step-by-step visualizations of common surgeries such as appendicectomy (removal of the appendix), cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder), or a hip screw. It walks you through the entire operation as if you were the surgeon, asking you to complete this prep or perform this incision. It clearly explains why you are carrying out your actions and describes the potential risks. By the end of the procedure, you feel like an expert.

This app may not be for everyone — the graphic nature of some of the images can churn one's stomach. But some patients find this app helps take away the "fear of the unknown," allowing them to face their actual procedure with confidence.

A calm patient's mental state before surgery is thought to help contribute to improved outcomes and shorter hospital stays. Even if this app is not for you, be sure to work with your surgeon to get the information you need to feel comfortable with your surgical decision.