Really?? Music DURING Surgery? Yes!!

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Recently, there has been a lot in the popular press (Huffington Post, etc) about the fact that so many surgeons play music during surgery and that it actually does help them to cut and stitch faster and more accurately.  This is wonderful news!  But is the patient just lying there, anesthetized, not aware of the surgeon’s music?

Anecdotal reports abound from patients who say that, even though they were under general anesthesia, they heard conversations that they wish they had not heard.  Statements such as “oh, it’s worse than we thought,” or “this lady is not going to last very long with that tumor.”  People report that, even under general anesthesia, they heard the drill, the hammers, and the saws that replaced the knee, the hip or the shoulder joints.

Not only do patients often hear these anxiety-provoking sounds, but their bodies do respond to the music that the surgeon is playing.  Now there are many surgeons that play perfectly wondering music, but often it is upbeat and loud and with lyrics that are not positive in nature.  One local surgeon was reported to play the Queen song, “Another One Bites the Dust!”  I would be furious if I thought my surgeon was listening to that!

Now we have numerous studies that document benefits of music DURING surgery:

1.  “Music Eases the Stress of Surgery”  Damir Janigro, Neuroscientist, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH

Results: Listening to melodic music decreased the activity of individual neurons in the deep brain, says Janigro, adding that the physical responses to the calming music ranged from patients’ closing their eyes to falling asleep. Some patients even settled into a nice round of snoring. And when lead neurosurgeon Ali Rezai needed patients to perform an action, such as lifting a limb, during the procedures, he simply removed their earphones and relayed instructions. Once the music resumed, patients returned to their snoozing

Conclusion: With the right music patients can be more relaxed in the operating room. And that relaxation may mean not only that procedures involve less medication — to control blood pressure, which increases with stress — but perhaps that patients have quicker recovery times and shorter hospital stays. Janigro anticipates that following institutional approval, music will be used during certain neurosurgical procedures at the clinic as early as 2010. He hopes other hospitals will soon follow Cleveland’s lead. “This type of surgery can be a traumatizing experience, and using music can decrease anxiety,” he notes.

2. ” Listening to Music decreases the Need for Sedative Medication during Colonoscopy” Department of Gastroenterology, Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode 673 008, Kerala Published: Indian J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jan-Feb;25(1):3-5

3.  “How music therapy may benefit surgery patients” SCOPE blog of Stanford University School of Medicine.

The researchers (from the University of Kentucky, Dept of Music Therapy) say that music selected by trained personnel is preferred because specific guidelines should be followed to maximize the positive effect on patients, however the patient’s musical tastes should still be considered.

The researchers suggest that several playlists be offered so the patient can choose the one that best suits their tastes.

The researchers also note that the tempo, rhythm and volume of the music should be carefully controlled to maximize the positive effect. Calm, slow, gentle music was shown to produce the most positive results and facilitate relaxation and pain reduction in patients, they said.

– See more at: http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2012/11/20/how-music-therapy-may-benefit-surgery-patients/#sthash.mYSPtnPW.dpuf

Tomorrow’s post will review the use of music during recovery!

 

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About the Author:

Dr. Alice Cash is one of the world’s few clinical musicologists. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, she brings to her work over 40 years of professional experience as a college professor, clinical therapist, solo and chamber music performer and composer.

Since 1990, Dr. Cash has been in the field of Music Medicine and conducted clinical research at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, under the guidance of Dr. Joel Elkes, Dr. Leah Dickstein, and Dr. Rif El-Mallakh. Her clinical work at the University of Louisville lead to her career in music medicine.

In addition to her work with the University of Louisville, Dr. Cash lead the development of using music a hospital setting at Baptist East Hospital, Louisvile, KY. She has founded 3 companies: Healing Music Enterprises, Surgical Serenity Solutions and Crescent Hill Counseling.

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