Going Under the Knife: are you afraid of anesthesia?
People tell me on a regular basis that they have a tremendous fear of going under anesthesia, especially general anesthesia. Today, general anesthesia is a very safe process, if you have no complications, are in generally good health, and have no history of problems with anesthesia.
There are many exceptions to the above-mentioned situations though. What if you have cancer and have been taking chemotherapy and have a suppressed immune system? What if you are elderly and frail with a heart condition or other pre-existing conditions? What if you have lots of allergies and a family history of problems with anesthesia. Of course, there is not an easy answer here. Each case must be judged on its own merits and you must talk very carefully with your doctors and your family. However, in some cases, you just need to have surgery and you really need to have general anesthesia.
In this case I would strongly recommend that you consider using music before, during and after the procedure. Music is a very well-documented and effective adjunct to anesthesia. Slow, steady, soothing music entrains or synchronizes with your heartbeat and breathing to keep you calm and relaxed before they take you back, during the surgery, and throughout your time in the recovery room.
In addition, many surgeons today play their own favorite music in the OR and often it is upbeat, fast and even syncopated music. This is thought not to affect the patient, and yet patients come to me after their surgery and tell me they heard conversations and loud music that they did not like! For this reason, I recommend that the patient listen to their own favorite music through lightweight, cordless headphones that have the most appropriate music already programmed onto them.
If you have the time and know far enough in advance, you can create your own playlist and bring your own iPod or other MP3 player in. OR, you can get some from www.surgicalheadphones.com. They are being used around the world already and research studies are in progress to prove their effectiveness in reducing the amounts of medication you will need. Best wishes as you go through this process and let me know how it goes!
Listening to soothing music before, during and after surgery can reduce the amount of anesthesia and pain medication you require