Is this happening while you’re under the knife?

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.

“I always listen to music in the operating room. Classic rock,” says Dr. Zachary Domont, orthopedic surgeon at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill.

“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!

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  1. Wow, what a clickbait title.

  2. I find that I’m more productive at work when listing to music. It allows me zone everything out and concentrate/focus on those special task I may be doing that require me to be more detailed. My music preference is “Old School R&B”.

  3. Mozart violin concertos

  4. And here we thought surgeons would be listening to Bobbie Darin singing
    “Mack the Knife.” ?

  5. I’ve gone under the knife 13 times in the last 15 years, and my last Operation was this past May 15th, and My Spine Surgeon, is just a tad younger than I am, I’m 51, I had a Cspine Surgery, and as always I request for me to say a Slient Prayer before they give me what I call “The Milk of Mother Nature”, it’s the stuff that killed Michael Jackson, and as I was Praying, the music that was play was upbeat, not hard rock, but I really really liked it. So Yes.. I Totally Agree, if it night only helps Us Patient’s, as well as the Whole OR Staff, but most of All the Surgeron, then so be it.. Let It Play!!!

  6. I’ve had around 5 major surgeries, 1 emergency surgery were I had 15 minutes to live by the time I got to the hospital and a few non major surgeries. Not one of them had music playing in the OR! So I wouldn’t know if I would be comfortable with it. I think they should be concentrating on me and my operation. But that’s just me, I hope I don’t have to have any more darn surgeries to find out.

About the Author

Kelsey Andeway
Kelsey Andeway

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.