Peterborough City Hospital patients watch films during surgery

Iris Quirolo and Dr Richard Griffiths
Image caption Iris Quirolo said she was delighted when Dr Richard Griffiths gave her a DVD of The Sound of Music instead of a general anaesthetic

Patients undergoing some types of surgery are being asked if they would prefer to stay awake and watch films rather than have a general anaesthetic.

The film chosen most by those having a local anaesthetic during operations at Peterborough City Hospital is Dirty Dancing, a spokesman said.

"Films help patients relax and they can recover more quickly," he added.

Iris Quirolo, 75, who chose to watch The Sound of Music during hip surgery, said it was "a good experience".

Dr Richard Griffiths, consultant anaesthetist at the hospital, said the approach was proving to be of particular benefit to older patients who carry an increased risk of reacting badly to a general anaesthetic.

"I originally got the idea from a group of colleagues in Glasgow who were offering it for some planned operations," he said.

"I thought we might be able to use it for emergency operations as well.

"I'm particularly interested in patients who've fractured their hips. There is some evidence that says if you have these operations when you're awake, and have a regional anaesthetic, you may do better afterwards."

'Double whammy'

Patients wear headphones during surgery so that any noise associated with their operation is drowned out.

Mrs Quirolo said she chose to watch a film and have a spinal block anaesthetic because she had reacted badly to general anaesthetics in the past.

"I did stop watching from time to time to have a chat with Dr Griffiths," she said.

Image caption Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze star in the 1987 movie Dirty Dancing

"It was a good experience and a much better way to have an operation."

Mrs Quirolo bucked the general trend by opting for The Sound of Music.

"The most popular movie at the moment, particularly among our older female patients, is Dirty Dancing," Dr Griffiths said.

"If they are happy to be awake and watch the TV, I am happy they are going to have a better experience.

"It's a double whammy really. It helps the patient recover more quickly and takes their mind off it.

"Quite often, with headphones on, they don't really realise they've had the operation at all."

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