The effects of preoperative guided imagery interventions on preoperative anxiety and postoperative pain: A meta-analysis

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2020 Feb;38:101077. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.101077. Epub 2019 Dec 4.


Introduction: Preoperative anxiety and postoperative pain are common problems in patients undergoing surgery. The aim of this study is to analyse the effect of using guided imagery prior to surgery in adults and children to reduce preoperative anxiety and acute postoperative pain, compared with conventional preoperative nursing care.

Methods: A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted. We searched randomised clinical trials in databases and search engines.

Results: A total of 1101 records were identified, of which 21 were included in the qualitative synthesis. Two random model meta-analysis were performed with eight trials. Guided imagery preoperatively was shown to be effective in relieving preoperative state anxiety in children (d = -3.71), preoperative trait anxiety in adults (d = -0.64) and postoperative pain in adults (d = -0.24). Postoperative pain in children and preoperative state anxiety in adults was reduced but without significant difference.

Conclusion: Guided imagery preoperatively is an effective, easy and low-cost intervention.

Keywords: Adults; Anxiety; Children; Guided imagery; Postoperative pain; Preoperative care.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Imagery, Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control*
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic