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Aromatherapy May Be Soothing After Surgery

Lavender Oil Improves Satisfaction in Breast Biopsy Patients

WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 24, 2005 -- Having a breast biopsy can be painful and nerve-wracking. But aromatherapy could improve the experience, according to a study published in the journal Anesthesiology.

Researchers at New York University Medical Center gave 50 patients face masks to wear in the recovery room following breast biopsy surgery. Half of the patients received standard face masks, while the other half received masks scented with lavender oil. The researchers then asked patients to rate their level of pain and overall satisfaction with the experience.

While the results did not reveal any significant difference in levels of pain or time to discharge from the recovery room, there was a significant difference in patient satisfaction. In the group that received aromatherapy, 20 out of 25 women rated their overall satisfaction a 10 (the highest score), compared with 7 of 25 women in the group that did not receive lavender.

"Lavender aromatherapy contributes to overall satisfaction when having breast biopsy surgery," the authors conclude. But they add that the study involved a small number of patients and the difference in levels of satisfaction is not large enough to exclude the possibility that it occurred by chance.

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