Woman awake on iPad during Derriford Hospital knee op

Janet Blank (Pic: Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust)
Image caption Janet Blank was given a spinal anaesthetic to numb her lower abdomen, but she remained awake throughout the operation

A woman has used an iPad to distract her during a knee replacement operation instead of being sedated.

Janet Blank, 65, from Plymouth is the first patient to choose the distraction technique instead of sedation at Derriford Hospital.

Ms Blank said: "I heard everything, the hammer and drill, but it didn't bother me at all."

A hospital spokeswoman said she was given anaesthetic to numb her legs and take away the pain.

Communicate with patient

Ms Blank said: "I didn't feel any pain and I actually watched the screen [used by surgeons] when they put the nerve block down my leg, which was fascinating.

"I didn't watch TV as I prefer the radio so I asked to listen to BBC Devon, the Judi Spiers show, as she's always good and makes me laugh."

Dr Matt Oldman, consultant anaesthetist, said: "By avoiding sedating anaesthetic drugs during the procedure we can reduce side effects such as sickness, post-op drowsiness and confusion.

"Another added advantage is that the surgeon can communicate with the patient during the procedure.

"Typically the procedures last between one and two hours, which is a long time to expect someone to lie still, but with the new computer tablets we can offer a choice of music, films and television."

The tablet has been on loan from the South West Regional Anaesthesia Group.

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