Knee Replacement Surgery with Music


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:



New research study on the use of music and reassuring words during surgery


Just important might reassuring music or reassuring words be to you during the surgical process?  Quite a bit, according to a study that just came out of Sweden.   Why do people utter words of reassurance?  Why do people like hearing words of reassurance?  When undergoing a medical procedure that is potentially painful, we tend to give our power to the doctor and the medical staff.  If they reassure us that it probably will turn out well, or that the pain will be brief of even not that painful, we like that!

Add some soothing music to the formula and it’s going to be even better!  Check out this new study that verifies that this is really true!  🙂  Enjoy!

“(NewsFix) Women who heard relaxing music and reassuring words during an operation made a much better recovery than those who did not.
Although you are unconscious during surgery, the brain may still be aware – at some level – of what’s going on around you. Researchers at Orebro Medical Center Hospital in Sweden have demonstrated this to dramatic effect. A group of 90 women undergoing hysterectomies were assigned to either relaxing music, reassuring words and music, or the usual sounds of the operating theatre.

Those exposed to music along with the soothing sound of ocean waves – with or without reassuring words – experienced less post-operative pain and fatigue and were able to sit up sooner after surgery than those who did not hear music. They also felt better when they got home. But there were no benefits in terms of length of hospital stay, nausea or bowel function.

Since playing music and saying reassuring words is simple and inexpensive, there’s not reason not to try it out with all surgical patients, say the researchers. At the very least, it would blot out any worrying comments being made by the medical team which might be picked up – at some level – by the patient.”


Fear of Surgery: is it holding you back?


Let me start by saying:  fear of surgery is not unusual!  Nor is it wrong, or silly, or stupid.  Actually, I think that someone who had just been told they need surgery, would be foolish simply to accept that blindly.   I’ve had surgery numerous times, unfortunately, but obviously I survived!

No one wants their body to be cut on! Nobody in their right mind, but sometimes, the doctor needs to go in and repair something, remove something, or perhaps, just improve it.   In that case, you’re going to need to have surgery.

I’m a great believer in educating yourself and now that we have Google and Bing and other search engines, you can quickly get lots of quality information on most any subject imaginable.  Many people take the ostrich approach and bury their heads in the sand, thinking that if they can just ignore their physical problem it will go away…but it never does!

What if you could be reassured enough to go ahead and have your surgery done and put it behind you?  Many people neglect their surgery because they are truly afraid that they won’t wake up from anesthesia and will never see family and friends again.  Others fear the pain that will invariably result from cutting into the body.  But did you know, that when music is put into your brain, through headphones, anesthesia and pain medication can sometimes be cut in half!!  Yes, this is what research in the fields of music therapy, nursing, surgery and music medicine have shown.  Even if you don’t require 50% less anesthesia and pain medication, you will require less of each, and the less medication you require, the more like you will awaken from surgery and get back to your life.

If you’re interested in knowing more about this, go to Surgical Serenity Solutions and begin educating yourself about music with surgery!


Reactions to anesthesia during surgery


Yes, occasionally people do react adversely to anesthesia during a surgical or medical procedure.  If you’ve been healthy all of your life and never needed to take anesthesia or pain medication, how would you know?

I just heard a dear lady on TV say that she almost lost her husband to an anesthesia reaction, when the surgery was over and he was in the recovery area.  She was sitting beside him and just noticed that he was getting white as a sheet.  She called the doctors and his blood pressure was dropping rapidly.  If she had not observed this, he might have died.

How could music possibly make a difference?   I’ll tell you!  In the scientific research into how music affects the body, we learn about the process of entrainment.  Entrainment is a scientifically documented phenomenon wherein the  pulse of the music synchronizes the body rhythms, (heart rate and breathing) to the pulse of the music.  When the patient is hearing slow, steady soothing music before, during and after his procedure, there is a very good chance that his heart rate, breathing and blood pressure will stabilize and the patient will require less anesthesia and pain medication to stay comfortable.

Research in music therapy, nursing, anesthesiology and other fields is documenting this all over the world.  There are a few hospitals that actually have music therapists playing live music for the patient.  If this is not an option for you, please check out the pre-programmed, Surgical Serenity Headphones and Music.  They are already in use at Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and VA hospitals.  Let me know if I can help you!


My Journey Into Using Music During Surgery


For years, even  decades, I heard about people who used music during their surgical procedures.  I was always fascinated, being a musician and music-lover, exactly how this worked.  No one would really give me a straight answer about this and so eventually, I decided it must be a rare and esoteric experience that once could only get in New York, L.A., or perhaps Paris.  Little did I know, for the longest time, that there really was no particular method for getting your surgeon to provide music during your surgery.  And because I had never had surgery (except some relatively minor dental surgery) I wasn’t too concerned about it.

All of that changed in late summer of 1975 when I found that I would be having a baby in April of 1976.  Although I was happy and excited about this news, my mind went immediately to labor and delivery and what the pain management options would be.  I had heard my mother’s not-so-pleasant experience in the hospitals of 1948 when I was born, and I surely did not want to repeat her experience.  She was given scopolamine for her labor which lasted something crazy like two days.  At the end, she was completely knocked out and didn’t even see me until I was several days old!

Even though I knew that they didn’t even use that drug anymore for labor and delivery, I also didn’t want anyone sticking a needle in my back and accidentally hitting a nerve that would send me through the roof.  I decided then and there that I would use natural childbirth, the Lamaze method, and supplement that with music.  In 1976 that was really not so easy to do.  First of all, there were no CD’s or iPods, but only records and record-players and the hospital was not going to let anyone drag in their record player from home!  There were cassette tapes by then, but the music I wanted I didn’t own and it wasn’t that easy to make your own at that point.

Jump to 1990:  I had just gotten my Ph.D. in musicology and landed at dream job at the University School of Medicine as Coordinator of Music and Medicine.   Again, I began hearing about the use of music during surgery an reading everything I could get my hands on!  By 1993, I was speaking quite a bit about the “Healing Power of Music” and beginning to emphasize the benefits of music during surgery using that tapes that I was helping people put together before their surgeries.

Jump to 2005:  By then, I had probably helped hundreds of people to create their own tapes and then CD’s for surgery.  Now I was beginning to think, why couldn’t someone create headphones for surgery that were already programmed with the ideal, calm, steady, soothing music, that research has documented that people need less anesthesia, pain medication, etc. and recover faster as a result of less medication, and get back to their lives, happier and healthier!

Today, in September of 2013, these headphones are selling all over the world.  We began by selling them to the patients exclusively, but now we are actively selling them to hospitals and they are beginning to purchase them by the hundreds.  If you are contemplating surgery or if you have surgery scheduled, you need to order them NOW.  We can overnight them to you anywhere in the continental US, but don’t delay!  Go to  They can be used for general anesthesia procedures as well as labor and delivery, dental surgery, cosmetic procedures of any kind, and simply for calming down and relaxing.  Go to right now!  Thank you!


Fear of Surgery and Anesthesia: Is it realistic?


In the year 2013, hasn’t most of the danger of surgery and anesthesia been eradicated?  Well, I don’t want to discourage you from having needed surgery because the vast majority of procedures go as planned and improve the quality of life immeasurably for that patient.  But just how wrong can things go?

I don’t need to recount the horror stories of surgeries gone bad from all kinds of mistakes, but you’ve heard them.  I believe that things have improved over the last few years but occasionally we still hear of the wrong limb being operated on or even removed.  We still hear of sponges being sewn up in patients, all things that could be prevented.

What can’t be prevented is bad reactions to anesthesia or pain medication in people who have never had surgery or had medical treatment at all.  Here is when using music can be particularly helpful by supplementing the relaxation effect and decreasing the need for as much anesthesia or pain medication.  Why wouldn’t a person use music?  Well, there are a few that I can think of:

  • They don’t know about how powerful music can be in surgery
  • They don’t realize that they can buy pre-programmed headphones for surgery
  • And that’s about it!

If you have been told that you need any kind of surgery at all, including dental surgery, please plan to use music.  Either your own favorite music through an iPod, or the pre-programmed headphones will give you a more positive experience and outcome!  Feel better!


You’ve just found out you need surgery? Now what?


No one wants to have surgery.  But some people are so terrified of “going under the knife” and “having general anesthesia,” that they put off needed surgery because of this fear.  The good news is, today there are so many resources with accurate and easy-to-understand information that people can get much-needed and reassuring information about what goes on during the procedure they need.

One of the many things that people can do is to use music before, during and after the procedure.  Using your favorite soothing, comforting music before surgery can calm you down and begin to relax your body so that it takes less anesthesia to put you to sleep.  If you’re particularly sensitive to anesthesia this is really an excellent idea!  If you’re able to put different music on your iPod, the music for surgery should ideally be purely instrumental and have a steady tempo, close to the tempo of the healthy resting heartbeat.  Choose your favorite genre and practice listening to it and relaxing before your surgery.

For the recovery room, chose something that is just slightly more upbeat, but still gentle.  When you’re listening through headphones, you will not only be putting this soothing music directly into your brain through the 8th cranial nerve.  This also blocks out operating room sounds that can be quite disconcerting.  Especially if you happen to be having joint  replacement surgery, you can hear hammering, drilling and even sawing!  Having soothing music in your ear, through headphones can be a real blessing!

Don’t have the time or the knowledge to create a playlist for surgery?  You’re in luck!  I’ve already done it for you.  Just go to and you can purchase either the cordless, pre-programmed headphones, or you can just purchase the download for your own MP3 device or iPod.  Let me know if you have questions!


Benefits of Surgery with Music: Medical Research Documents


As the word spreads about your options for using music during surgery, the studies come out, documenting the benefits, and the list of benefits grows and grows.   Here are a few of the main benefits for the patient having general anesthesia:

For the patient:  Slow, steady, and soothing instrumental music can

  • Decrease anxiety and the need for as much anxiety medication
  • Decrease the amount of propofol needed as a result of patients level of relaxation
  • Decrease the amount of pain medication needed during and after surgery
  • Decrease the amount of time in the recovery area as a result of
  • Less nausea and vomiting
  • Less dizziness and confusion
  • Faster recovery and back to work because of less anesthesia

For the surgeon:  Upbeat, steady tempo, instrumental music can

  • Improve focus
  • Maintain energy level
  • Decrease distractability

For the hospital:  Benefits of using separate music for patient and surgeon

  • Safer procedures with less side-effects
  • Patients safely discharged sooner because of less anesthesia and pain meds
  • Customer satisfaction sky-rockets
  • More patients are able to be seen during the day

My sincerest hope is that one day all hospitals will use music in their operating rooms to soothe and comfort the patient in a natural and effective way, through cordless, pre-programmed headphones, while the surgeon has his favorite upbeat music that allows him to have a laser focus and plenty of energy through speakers in the OR.  There is ample research to document all of these benefits.  Click HERE to see a presentation on Music with Surgery.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions!



Will my surgeon let me use music in the operating room?


Great question!  Many people fear that even if they want to use their own music in the Operating Room, their doctor won’t allow it because of concerns with germs, cleaniliness, or some sort of interference with their equipment.  Let me address these concerns, one by one:

Possible Concerns of the Surgeon

Could music through headphones or an iPod/MP3 play introduce germs into the surgical field?  I have been told repeatedly by surgical personnel, that everything in the OR does NOT have to be sterilized.  Only the instruments that go inside the patient music be sterilized.  The table, floor, lamps, etc. are disinfected but not sterilized.  Although the headphones that each person uses are brand-new and not touched by human hands once packaged, my recommendation that you order them several days in advance allows you to practice relaxing with them at home and get used to turning them off and on and adjusting the volume.  So that when you arrive at the hospital, they will likely be wiped down with disinfectant anyway, but can also easily fit under the cap that the patient wears over their own hair and head.

Even in 2005, there were a few surgeons who would balk at the idea of bringing an ipod or headphones in the to the OR, but today, the benefits of the right kind of music in surgery, are so well documented that it is not an issue.  Also, the fact that probably the majority of surgery now have music playing in the OR, makes it seem more natural for the patient to bring his music in.  Especially for regional anesthesia or local anesthesia, it makes sense to let the patient bring in the music that will be comforting for them.

Why It Works

Rhythmic entrainment is so powerful and so well-documented that there is no questions that slow, steady, soothing music will calm a person down by slowly and regulating their breathing.  You have a couple of choices.  You can choose your favorite slow, steady, instrumental music and load it onto your iPod, or you can purchase cordless, preprogrammed headphones to take into surgery and they will last you for 5-10 years, and can be re-loaded with whatever music you like.

UPDATE:  In 2021 you can order or download our new book “Having Surgery?  Using Music to Decrease Anxiety and Pain Perception” or you can now download our new mobile app and sample five different playlists we have created for surgery in different genres


Having Surgery?  Now available in the the Kindle Store!


Serenity Music Playlists now available in Apple App Store


Surgical Serenity Solutions helps hospitals and medical facilities that offer surgery increase patient satisfaction as well as reduce anxiety and pain perception, using carefully curated music that harnesses the power of rhythmic entrainment to stabilize heart rate and breathing.

Best wishes on your surgery and let me know if I can help you or answer any questions!


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