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Study of Fine Art Photographs and Visualization Tapes to Improve Surgical Recovery in Breast Cancer

This study has been terminated.
(Expired for lack of continuing review)
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
James Rodrigue, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Identifier:
First received: September 13, 2005
Last updated: March 22, 2017
Last verified: March 2017

This is a study to assess whether healing suggestions and enhancing visual milieu (large fine art photographs) will improve mental and physical measures of well-being and recovery from surgery. The study will compare breast cancer patients undergoing identical skin sparing mastectomy and reconstruction surgery randomized to three groups:

  1. Usual care control group
  2. Usual care and exposure to fine art photograph
  3. Usual care and fine art photograph and guided visualization tapes.

Condition Intervention
Breast Neoplasms
Behavioral: Visualization relaxation
Behavioral: Visual Milieu Enhancement (Fine art photograph)

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: No masking
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Using Visual Milieu Enrichment and Guided Visualization to Augment Patient Well-being and Post-surgical Recovery

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Mood disturbance (Profile of Mood States short form) [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Post-operative pain [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Presence of skin necrosis [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Presence of hematoma [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Presence of infection [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]
  • Length of hospital stay [ Time Frame: 4 weeks ]

Enrollment: 24
Study Start Date: March 2005
Study Completion Date: March 27, 2008
Primary Completion Date: March 27, 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
No Intervention: 1
Usual Care
Experimental: 2
Usual care and exposure to a visually enriched milieu (landscape photograph)
Behavioral: Visual Milieu Enhancement (Fine art photograph)
Experimental: 3
Usual care, exposure to a visually enriched milieu and audio taped guided visualization with healing suggestions.
Behavioral: Visualization relaxation Behavioral: Visual Milieu Enhancement (Fine art photograph)

Detailed Description:

In the course of surgical procedures and hospitalization, patients are stressed not only by the discomforts and anxieties associated with their illness and treatment but also by the sterile, intimidating medical environment, with no access to the natural environment. Clinical studies from environmental medicine have suggested that during hospital confinement patients benefit from visually pleasing décor. Enhancing the medical milieu can alleviate patient anxiety and discomfort as well as improve markers of stress such as blood pressure and requirement for analgesics. In addition, research has shown the effectiveness of stress reduction approaches such as Relaxation Response, Guided Imagery, and Hypnosis in mediating clinical psychophysiology overall. Such studies have also shown the lowering of stress levels, inducing faster recovery from surgical anesthesia and perhaps even speeding physical healing overall. Use of these techniques has been shown to give people a greater sense of self-control as well and reduce stress reactions that affect health.

The proposed study represents the next step testing clinical efficacy of a behavioral medicine intervention with breast cancer patients undergoing mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. The current study extends prior research on accelerating healing outcomes through the use of non-pharmacological mental interventions. One prior study demonstrated accelerated bone fracture healing using hypnosis in otherwise healthy young adults. A second study showed enhanced post-surgical wound healing in healthy women undergoing reduction mammoplasty. The current study will generate new data about enhancing outcomes for breast cancer patients undergoing mastectomy and reconstruction. The goal of the trial is to determine whether these ancillary treatments enhance psychological and physical post-surgical recovery as compared to usual care only. The study provides an upside potential to enhance patient well being and to accelerate post-surgical recovery with minimal risk. Should significant positive findings result from this study, it will constitute a pilot test of such modifications of the healthcare delivery environment with an eye toward stimulating greater patient well being and shorter length of stay.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnosis of stage 0, I, or II breast cancer
  • Skin sparing mastectomy with transverse rectus abdominal muscle (TRAM) or deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap reconstruction planned
  • Ability to give informed consent
  • Working knowledge of English

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Physical inability to comply to study protocol
  • Diabetes
  • Current smokers
  • Acute psychosis
  • Mental retardation
  • Language barriers
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00179634

United States, Massachusetts
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02215
Sponsors and Collaborators
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Principal Investigator: Susan L Troyan, MD Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  More Information

Hartig T, Evans GW, Jammer LD, Davis DS, Garling T. Tracking restoration in natural and urban field settings. Journal of Environmental Psychology 23:109-23, 2003
Ewin DM.The effect of hypnosis and mental set on major surgery and burns. Psychiatric Annals 16:115-118, 1986.

Responsible Party: James Rodrigue, Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Identifier: NCT00179634     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2004P000115
Study First Received: September 13, 2005
Last Updated: March 22, 2017

Keywords provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center:
Randomized Controlled Trial

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Breast Neoplasms
Neoplasms by Site
Breast Diseases
Skin Diseases processed this record on May 23, 2017