Is this happening while you’re under the knife?
Music is physically and mentally moving, and we all have our favorite “jam”, including surgeons. Did you know many surgeons play music in the operating room to further their attention?
Patients put trust into their operating team, hoping for a positive outcome during procedures. A 2011 study from the Journal of Anaesthesiology Clinical Pharmacology demonstrated how music can impact the way surgeons perform procedures and release tension while operating. For two months, researchers conducted a survey questionnaire that was given out to 44 surgeons, 25 anesthesiologists and 31 nurses to determine their opinions on listening to music in the operating room. The participants were asked questions, such as if they felt music was distracting or helpful, their music preference and whether they believed music affected patients; they ranked their answers on a scale from one to five.
“To me, I find it has three primary benefits: first, it helps calm the patient before they go to sleep. Second, it helps build teamwork and actually encourages communication. Finally, it creates a comfortable environment reducing stress.”
The results revealed 63 percent of participants felt more relaxed when listening to music due to lowering their “autonomic reactivity” in the operating room. In turn, they had stronger concentration, and most were aware of how music advanced their work. Surgeons who listened to music at about 60 to 80 beats per minute felt more at ease, while a faster tempo usually raised their heart and blood pressure. Instrumental music and FM radio were common choices of music. The volume of music affected overall moods of operating room staff. More than 59 percent enjoyed having volume at a medium level, while others preferred a lower one.
Playing music is also positive for patients undergoing operations. The study explained 62 percent of operating staff thought music reduced extra anxiety for patients before they had anesthesia. There was also a correlation between music and creating a sense of familiarity for patients. Surgeons and staff said playing songs helped create calming presence, especially for burn victims and cancer survivors, while making the operating room less of a scary place.
What about distractions? The American College of Surgeons issued a 2016 statement, emphasizing guidelines on “distractions in the operating room”. They created this report as a way for operating staff to always take precaution and uphold a safe environment for both patients and staff. In terms of music, the ACS mentions surgeons must keep the entire team in mind when they choose the type of song and noise level.
“There are times when it is critical for silence in the operating room, but for many other moments it actually improves focus rather than creating more distraction. It is important to keep the music volume at an appropriate level so that all members of the surgical team are able to continue to communicate with each other,” explains Dr. Domont.
What’s your favorite song to de-stress? Let us know in the comments below!
About the Author
Kelsey Andeway, health e-news contributor, is a public affairs intern at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove. She is a senior at Loyola University Chicago earning a bachelor's degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Dance. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys dancing, baking, and taking long walks with her Chocolate Lab.