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Music – Now More and More in the OR

It was William Congreve who said rightly that music has charms to soothe the savage beast, and now, we’re also discovering that it has the potential to calm frayed nerves, in no less a situation than the OR. When we think of music and surgery in the same breath, the following thoughts come to mind:

  • More and more surgeons are getting used to the idea that music during a surgery is conducive to not just the optimal mental state of the surgeon, but also has beneficial effects on the patient undergoing the surgery.
  • Studies claim that patients who listen to music before their surgeries, need less sedation because their minds are relaxed.
  • The music must be soft and only in the background. It should serve to soothe, not irritate the senses.
  • Some people, doctors included, feel that music, the kind that stimulates, facilitates organized thought. Your mind is primed to think better when it listens to certain types of music.
  • Doctors who enjoyed music while they were students and were able to study with music in the background or with their iPods fixed to their ears are the ones who are most likely to want music playing while they perform surgeries.
  • Finally, what’s most important is not whether music is being played or not; it’s the kind of music and the preference of the person who is paramount to the surgery that counts, because one man’s meat is another’s poison. So if the lead surgeon, the most important man in the team is irritated by the music, then it serves no healing purpose and is more of a hindrance than help.

The question that now comes to mind is whether you, if you were the patient being operated on, would want your surgeon and their team to be listening to music during the surgery. I’m sure most of us would balk at the thought that the doctors were “relaxing” rather than working on fixing what’s wrong with you “seriously”. But, truth is, surgeons, especially those who are very skilled, are used to going about surgeries as a matter of routine. You’d typically find them joking around with each other, each member of the team focused on the task at hand and ribbing their colleagues simultaneously.

This is how it is with music too – your surgeon uses it as a tool to relax and calm their nerves. And this is what matters in the end – that your surgeon be as comfortable and at ease as possible so that your surgery is a roaring success.