Preparing for your surgery: 3 Easy Ideas


 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!


How Does Music Reach the Brain during Surgery


  When patients have surgery today, music CAN come to them in one of several different ways.  Sometimes there is ambient music in the operating room.  Oftentimes, the surgeon has speakers set up that are playing HIS or HER favorite music.  That’s great for the surgeon, but the music that the surgeon needs is often the opposite from what the patient needs. The surgeon wants rhythmic, upbeat music that will keep his energy up and his focus sharp!  The patient needs music that is slow, soothing and steady.  Even under general anesthesia, the heart and breathing will entrain or synchronize with the pulse of the music. 

When the patient listens to music of this type, he can have all the benefits of less anesthesia, less anxiety medication and less pain medication.  The less medication and anesthesia that the patient requires, the faster and safer the recovery will be.  When the patient listens through headphones, the surgeon’s music is blocked, or at least muffled greatly.  Also, conversations in the OR that the patient doesn’t need to hear will be blocked.  Patients often report that they heard conversations between nurses and doctors that were upsetting in one way or another.

A third choice in some hospitals is actual live music, administered by a music therapist.  I think this would be fantastic because clearly the music would be geared toward the patient.  I’m not sure how practical this is in a large busy hospital where the 20 operating rooms are busy all day long.  MY choice would be the headphones and the only place that carries them right now is  Check them out and let me know what you think.  They can be used for years after the surgery and you can add more music or delete any and all of it and create your own playlist.  Not only that, but you can download the music from the website onto your own iPod or MP3 player.  Pretty cool!!

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