With increasing numbers of invasive procedures being performed under regional anesthesia and monitored anesthesia care, all causes of fear and anxiety in patients who remain awake in the operating room must be taken into consideration. A significant source of patient anxiety is the possibility of viewing the surgical field. In one American study, 37% of patients reported the specific fear that they would see their surgery. A British study echoed this finding, with 47% of respondents reporting anxiety about “seeing their body cut open.” Nevertheless, anesthesiologists can misunderstand this common fear; a significant portion of them believed having patients watch their operation was a method to decrease anxiety.

Images A and B demonstrate how supine patients having a surgical procedure under neuraxial or regional anesthesia can directly view the incision/surgical field. The highly reflective...

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