Mozart and Surgery: powerful results

Elderly patient wearing headphones after surgery

Woman relaxed wearing headphones before surgery

Mozart is a composer that even non-musicians have probably heard of.  And ever since the early 1990’s Mozart’s name has been associated with potential health benefits.  “The Mozart Effect” was in media and print news around the world and CDs were created to play for babies both before and after birth.  This lasted for about a decade and then faded away quite a bit.

A new study on music with surgery came out today

Until today! This morning a new study came out about the use of Mozart’s music during surgery and it’s exciting! The particular surgical procedure was a total thyroidectomy. The summary of this study states:


Purpose: Pain has always been a major concern in postoperative care. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of Mozart music on postoperative pain and physiological parameters in patients who underwent total thyroidectomy.

Methods: Patients scheduled for total thyroidectomy were randomly assigned to a music group or a control group. The music intervention was applied immediately after surgery, whereas the control group received only usual care. Measurements of pain perception and physiological parameters were performed before, during, and after the music intervention in the music group and at the same time points in the control group. Pain was evaluated with the visual analog scale.

Results: In a study population of 50 patients, a higher rate of decrease in pain was observed in the music group after the first 10 min of the music intervention compared to the control group (estimate = – 1.329; 95% CI [- 2.490, – 0.169]). Music also reduced respiratory rate by 1.31 rates/min more in the music group than in the control group at every assessment point (95% CI [- 2.171, – 0.451]). Changes in the remaining physiological parameters were not statistically significant between the music and the control group and within each group.

Conclusion: This study suggests that the use of music during immediate postoperative care after thyroidectomy could accelerate pain relief and lead to a greater decline of respiratory rate compared to that achieved in usual care.

Why Mozart? Would another composer or genre do as well?

I have already corresponded with the lead researcher of this study who is in Greece.  We need to know what the specific piece by Mozart was as well as whether the music was delivered through headphones or ambiently (through speakers in the room.)

As a clinical musicologist, I would also like to know how they decided to used Mozart instead of another classical composer or how they decided on the specific composition by Mozart that they used. As medical-surgical science goes forward, we need lots of detail about how specifically music can help patients in the perioperative area.

The Opioid Crisis around the world is very much still alive and music is one of the EASY ways to decrease opioid usage during and after a surgery.  Pain is always going to be a problem during and after surgery but rather than just “hope” you won’t get addicted, how about asking your surgeon and your hospital if they have our pre-loaded headphones ready and waiting for you. Many hospitals around the world have made these available for their patients. Here’s the link for your hospital to order.

If your hospital does not have them yet you can order a single pair for yourself!  Just click here.