I wonder what techniques can efficiently help avoid fainting when observing a surgery, either directly from the operating room, or video.


If observing surgery might cause you to faint then there are two things you can do:

  1. Avoid observing surgeries.

  2. Desensitize yourself with videos and photos of surgeries in a controlled environment where fainting won't injure you or disrupt an actual surgery.

Number two is quite easy to accomplish in this era of the internet*. There are thousands of videos and photos online to choose from, and as anyone with experience in medicine, emergency services, or combat will tell you, you will get used to seeing it and the autonomic response that causes you to faint will dissipate over time. However, if your reaction is so strong that fainting is a real possibility, you might want to consider visiting a psychologist for desensitization therapy.

  • I would advise avoiding the so-called "gore sites" and sticking to real medical procedures on youtube and the like. The gore sites can be far, far worse than you might be prepared for.

How to Avoid Fainting During Surgery?

Fainting during surgery can be caused by the situations outlined below. Below are solutions, as well.

  • Standing to long. When observing a surgery you may be asked to stand for long periods of time which can cause inadequate blood flow to the brain.

This pooling lowers the blood pressure and the amount of blood the heart pumps to the brain. Merck Manuals

Solutions are: Sitting if possible, moving around as much as possible and not standing completely still. Some conditions can make this fainting a greater risk so know if you have hypovolemia, a heart disorder or defect, etc.

  • Lower blood sugar from not being able to eat a adequate amount. Before the surgery you may be anxious, under stress, or etc. This can cause you to not consume enough food or not consume the right foods. This can lead to hypoglycemia and low energy levels.

Solutions: Eat a adequate meal, and maybe a snack before. If your going to get squeamish before and may vomit try eating the meal a bit before and try to calm down. Test your blood sugar before if possible and know your signs of hypoglycemia.

  • Disturbing images. Surgery can be quite disturbing to some people and some people are scared of blood and surgery. If this is the case, watching surgery may not be the right thing for you, unless you fix these circumstances before. You can try to watch surgeries under controlled circumstances to help you be less afraid.

From WebMD.com:

Some people have a problem with the way their body regulates their blood pressure, particularly when they move too quickly from a lying or sitting position to a standing position. This condition is called postural hypotension and may be severe enough to cause fainting.

Hyperventilation. If you become intensely anxious or panicked and breathe too quickly, you may feel faint from hyperventilation (taking in too much oxygen and getting rid of too much carbon dioxide too quickly).

You can stop Hyperventilation by taking deep breathes and trying to calm down. Also, not looking directly at what is going on may help.

Fainting Causes:

fear or other emotional trauma. severe pain. a sudden drop in blood pressure. low blood sugar due to diabetes or from going too long without eating. hyperventilation (rapid, shallow breathing) dehydration. standing in one position for too long.

Going off of this some other advice is to hydrate appropriately(64 ounces of water a day on average), don't take any unnecessary drugs and take drugs prescribed as prescribed.

For those watching videos take measures to take breaks, sit comfortably, don't stare at the screen for to long and use sound control to not have the sound blaring in your ears. Also, stand carefully after sitting for a long time and make sure you can mute or stop the video if things become to much.

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