Listening to Music During Surgery Can Result in Better Recovery, Less Pain

Illustration for article titled Listening to Music During Surgery Can Result in Better Recovery, Less Pain

Music, one of the oldest forms of entertainment, has also been shown to positively affect learning and memory. New research from a study of 7,000 patients now shows another added health benefit: listening to music during surgery can aid in post-operative recovery.


Scientists from London’s Brunel University observed that patients who had listened to tunes during a surgical procedure were significantly less anxious afterwards, had less pain and needed a lesser amount of medication, according to Reuters. While listening to music at any time was effective, a pre-operation soundtrack resulted in better outcomes.

Patients who chose their own music had greater pain relief, so the scientists say that people who are entering surgery should be allowed to choose the music they want to hear. But what if the patient wants to listen to Rammstein or Nicki Minaj? Won’t that be distracting to a surgeon, who may want to stop what they’re doing and dance? The research team does point out that the music should not interfere from the operating team’s communication—I’m curious if the type of music actually makes a difference or if it just has to be whatever the patient likes.


Their next study, focused on women’s health, also sounds interesting. Via Reuters:

The team now plans to follow up with a pilot scheme introducing music at The Royal London Hospital for women having Caesarean sections and women having hysteroscopy. Patients will submit their playlist on a device of their choice to be connected to a pillow with inbuilt loudspeakers, and the researchers will then analyze the effectiveness of rolling this out in practice.

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I had an angioplasty/stent procedure to Social D. It was kind of awesome. It wasn’t my choice, the tech had it on during the prep. He went rushing to turn it off when the surgeon came into the room. I asked that he leave it on. The surgeon wasn’t happy about it, but since I was awake while he was guiding a wire through my heart he coped. The next time I went in I got a high five from the tech and we listened to the Mavericks. Good times...

Other than the risks inherent in having a patient foot tap or try to do car dance moves it’s a pretty good distraction. And a distracted patient is a good patient. The very first time I had the procedure it was quiet and believe me, the doctor got kind of tired of me insisting that I could feel him scraping my arteries and that he needed a little more practice time on the “Operation” game.

Might be fun to make playlists for various procedures. “I’ve got you under my skin”...