Damaging Effects of Cortisol: yes, YOUR body makes it too!

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What does CORTISOL have to do with surgery?!  Cortisol is produced in the body as a direct response to stress and it has damaging effects on your body organs.   When most people find that they are going to have to have surgery, they immediately feel a tremendous surge of stress and that stress caused an immediate surge of cortisol through the body.  The damaging effects of cortisol can be mitigated by the use of soothing, steady, purely instrumental music, played through cordless headphones.

According to many doctors, cortisol can do everything from ravage and break down internal organs to lowering the immune system, to causing inflammation in the body, to producing more belly fat and breaking down muscle.  We all produce cortisol, but the less we produce the better off we are!

Music therapy and music medicine have been studied extensively in regard to their ability to decrease the amount of cortisol a body produces in different stressful events.  Specifically, I’ve looked for studies documenting music’s ability to decrease cortisol production in surgical patients.  Here is a recent one that shows music’s power in this particular setting.

Effects of Music Listening on Cortisol Levels and Propofol Consumption during Spinal Anesthesia

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110826/

The authors conclusion is :  Our data show that listening to music during surgery under regional anesthesia has effects on cortisol levels (reflecting stress-reducing effects) and reduces sedative requirements to reach light sedation.

This is the reason that the Surgical Serenity Solution exists!!  If YOU are having surgery and are feeling anxiety, please consider using music!

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Surgery with Music: FAQ’s

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Are you having surgery?  Are you scared of the pain, the anesthesia, the time off work, the side-effects of all the medications you’ll be given?  These are all common, and VALID concerns.  Surgery is serious business, but there are times that it really must be done to improve quality of life, to prolong life, or to enhance life.

Over the past 5 or 6 decades, surgery has become a much safer endeavor as hospital OR conditions have improved and methods of sterilization and decontamination have stepped into the 21st century.  Many companies have created tools to make the patient more comfortable during the entire procedure, from warming the sheets and giving the patient fuzzy foot-cover, to lightweight headphones that deliver specially-chosen music for surgery, wirelessly and cordlessly!

Here are some of the most frequently-asked questions that I get about the benefits of music during surgery:

  1. What are the benefits of music during surgery:

Patients using music (through cordless headphones) pre-surgery, during and after surgery, report less fear and anxiety medication before procedure, less anesthesia during surgery, and less pain medication after surgery.  They also report fewer side-effects from the anesthesia, such as nausea and vomiting, and a faster return to home, work and life in general!  In addition, when patient receives the music through headphones, the surgeon can have his own more upbeat music, and the patient isn’t affected by that.  Also, conversations that the doctors and nurses have, that patient doesn’t want to hear, will be obscured.  Finally, with Baby boomers having more and more joint replacement surgeries, patients don’t have to hear the drilling, sawing and hammering that goes on.

2.  What are the drawbacks of music during surgery:  absolutely none!

3.   Do the headphones block all sounds in the OR?:  No, the surgical headphones are intended to greatly decrease the OR noises, but during regional anesthesia and surgery, the patient can still hear questions that the doctor might need to ask.

4.   Will my doctors approve of this?  Most doctors do approve of the use of headphones during surgery.  The surgeon and the anesthesiologist both need to give their approval.  It is important to print out our free article entitled “How to Talk with Your Doctor about Using Music During Surgery.”

5.   How did you choose the music on the headphones?:  I have been helping patients choose their perfect music for surgery for almost 25 years.  I had been reading about the benefits of music in reducing medication and calming the patient, but through my own personal research and experience, I discovered that slow, steady, soothing instrumental music, that has the tempo of the healthy, resting heartbeat is ideal.  This is what get the entrainment process going, and even when the patient is under general anesthesia, the body’s heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure all tend to stabilize and synchronize with the slow, steady pulse of the music.

6.    Can I continue to use them after surgery?:  Yes.  The headphones include a USB cable and charger so that after your surgery or other medical procedure, you can connect the headphones to your laptop and load hundreds more pieces or songs of your choice.  With care, your headphones should last for many years!

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Knee Replacement Surgery with Music

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The aging baby-boomer population is filling up the hospitals nowadays.  Our joints, especially are simply wearing out and luckily, they can now be replaced!  Imagine what it was like when joints wore out and people just had to live with it.   Results of worn-out joints included becoming sedentary, depressed and eventually dying of pneumonia.  Of course this didn’t happen to everyone, but many people, for centuries, did have this happen.

We do live in a miraculous time!  With antibiotics, artificial knees and hips, and machines that can exercise our knees and our lungs for us, what more do we need?  I think that a great addition to this picture is music.

Ample research exists that document music’s beneficial effects before, during and after surgery.  When the music is delivered through cordless, pre-programmed headphones, it’s even better!  Recently I met with a lady who desperately needed knee replacement but was so fearful and anxious that she almost didn’t have the surgery.  She had heard about the Surgical Serenity Solution and because she lives here in Louisville, KY, I was able to hand-deliver them and talk with her about how different this would be from previous surgeries.

Listen as she describes what her experience was like:

 

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Surgery with Music: What’s New in 2014

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It’s really exciting to see so many advances in surgery on the horizon, and although I don’t wish surgery on anyone, it definitely will be happening all day, every day, around the world.  What I am most interested in is seeing that everyone has the best possible chance for a positive outcome!

Many astute and perceptive surgeons and anesthesiologists have realized for a long time that music is a powerful and effective addition to the surgical suite, but most were not sure how best to implement this idea.  The idea of using lightweight, behind the neck headphones for the patient, while allowing ambient music delivery for the surgeon, is an ideal solution that will be seen more and more in 2014.

Some other new developments in general surgery include:

  • Intraoperative radiation therapy for newly diagnosed breast cancer (December 2013)
  • Tumor seeding following endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of pancreatic tumors
  • Bedside ultrasound prior to skin abscess draining.

Can you imagine how helpful the soothing music headphones could be for patients undergoing any of the above procedures.  And, of course, the calmer and more relaxed the patient is, the better the surgeon can do his or her job.  It just makes sense to relax the patient with music before, during and after any surgical procedure with a method that has no side-effects and reduces recovery time as well as nausea and vomiting.

For more information, see www.SurgicalSerenitySolutions.com or email me at DrAlice@surgicalserenitysolutions.com.

 

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Some Side-effects of Anesthesia are Funny??

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Are you worried about the side-effects of anesthesia?  Obviously, general anesthesia is a powerful chemical process.  As with any kind of anesthesia or surgery, there are serious risks.  That’s why you want to do some careful research on the hospital you go to and who will do the surgery and the anesthesia.  Some are better that others.

The sad case of Joan Rivers, recently, demonstrated that even the smallest procedure must be carefully planned and executed.  Her procedure was quite routine, but something went wrong and she died after being in a coma for 3 or 4 days.  This is a worst-case scenario, but you need to do your research and understand that likely, you will have pain from the incision and nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and possibly short-term memory loss from the anesthesia.

Then there are the side-effects that are actually humorous!  There has been a story on television for the past two days about a young man who had just begun awakening from anesthesia.  (Yes, he did have red hair, and redheads are known to be more susceptible to the effects of anesthesia than non-redheads!)  It’s a charming story because as the guy is waking up, he looks over and his wife, but doesn’t recognize her.  Apparently this sort of thing has happened to him before because his wife doesn’t seem to be too devastated.  But when he turns a gets a good look at her, things get really funny and his wife couldn’t be happier at what comes out of his mouth!  Enjoy!

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Another New Research Study on Benefits of Music during Surgery

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J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Sep 18.

Music’s Use for Anesthesia and Analgesia.

Source

2nd Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine University of Athens,  “ATTIKON” University Hospital , Chaidari, Athens,  Greece .

Abstract

“Abstract   This review article provides an overview of published data regarding the involvement of music in anesthesia practice. Music is an important topic for research in different fields of anesthesiology. The use of music preoperatively is aimed at reducing anxiety, stress, and fear. However, the effect of music on perception of pain intraoperatively is controversial, according to studies of both adults and children undergoing various surgical procedures under general and/or regional anesthesia. In postoperative pain management, postanesthesia care, and neonatal intensive care, music can be a complementary method for reducing pain, anxiety, and stress. Music is a mild anxiolytic, but it is relatively ineffective when a pain stimulus is severe. However, music is inexpensive, easily administered, and free of adverse effects, and as such, can serve as complementary method for treating perioperative stress and for acute and chronic pain management, even though music’s effectiveness depends on each individual patient’s disposition and severity of pain stimulus.”

There are probably thousands of anecdotal reports about the benefits of music before, during and after surgery, but in the world of medicine, only the statistically documented studies count.  I’ve been collecting these studies for about 15 years now and they are getting better and better!

As we move forward with our process of getting the Surgical Serenity Solution into hospitals primarily, and into the hands of patients, secondarily, these studies are very important.  Please help me get the world out to your friends and family.  Also, please feel free to send me any questions or comment you might have.  Thank you!

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Music with Surgery: Case History #6, 63 year-old woman with a lumpectomy

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Patient was a 63-year old woman who had just discovered that she had a lump in her breast.  Patient had already met with her surgeon and had decided to have a lumpectomy rather than a mastectomy because they had caught it early and were fairly confident that it was still contained to the one spot in her breast.

As a result of talking to her friends and family, patient decided that she would like to try using music with her procedure in order to lessen the side-effects of anesthesia by decreasing the amount of anesthesia she would need.  She was excited to hear that by augmenting the effects of anesthesia with music, she would require less anesthesia.  Listen as this patient explains what the experience was like for her:

If you have been told that you need a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, please consider using the Surgical Serenity Headphones. For more information, see www.surgicalheadphones.com.

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Preparing for your surgery: 3 Easy Ideas

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 If you’ve just found you need surgery, or if you’ve decided to have an elective procedure, you still have fears and anxiety.  Everyone does if they’re honest with themselves:

  • What if something goes wrong?
  • What if I wake up in the middle of the procedure?
  • What if I don’t wake up at all?!

In the vast majority of surgeries, nothing goes wrong.  Surgery happens all over the world, every day.  But when things go wrong, whether it’s leaving the sponge inside the patient’s body, taking off the wrong leg, or breast, or hand, it’s extremely traumatic.

I was always taught that knowledge is power, so if you’re planning to have surgery, you need to get information and do everything you reasonably can to assure a successful procedure.   One of the easiest things you can do is to listen to music before, during and after your surgery or other medical procedure.

  1. If you have enough time and know-how, you can begin choosing some of your favorite relaxing, comforting music to listen to, initially for an hour each day before the surgery, while lying down so that you can practice relaxing when you hear that self-chosen music.
  2. You can talk to your surgeon in advance of the surgery and download your chosen music to your iPod or other MP3 player.  If s/he approves the plan, you can take it to the hospital the day of the surgery and begin listening as soon as you get there, and continue all the way through recovery.  There is ample research documenting the benefits of this, including reduced anxiety meds, anesthesia, and pain medication afterwards.
  3. If you don’t have time, know-how, or willingness to do these things, you can buy pre-programmed headphones that already have the slow, steady, soothing music that researchers believe will keep your heart-beat and respiration steady and decrease the amount of anesthesia and pain medication you will need.

If I can help you in any way, feel free to contact me via a comment on this blog.  Best wishes for a successful procedure!

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Surgery Headphones continue to help people get through surgery with fewer problems

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  When the surgery headphones were conceived in 2005, there had already been 15 years of preparation.  Starting in 1990. we were beginning to be aware at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, that music before and after surgery were powerful ways of decreasing anxiety and pain, as well as stabilizing blood pressure, body temp and mood.  We weren’t positive about how much effect it might have during surgery, but we suspected that it could reduce the amount of anesthesia even though the patient’s sense of hearing is not functioning.  How does that work?  Through the process of “entrainment” which means that the pulse of the music is transmitted by vibration through the headphones directly to the brain and body.  Because of this phenomenon of “rhythmic entrainment” the heartrate and breathing synchronize with the pulse of the music and this keeps the body relaed through the surgery.

Of course, the less medication the patient has, the faster they recover, get back to work and the fewer complications arise. We can mail the headphones anywhere in the world and we can program the type of music you request for a slight additional fee.  The music we have selected now is classical piano music that has the slow, steady pulse that is best for surgery.  Don’t have surgery without them!!

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