DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

REPORT | Surgeons Perform Better To Classical Music, Study Says

By Anya Wassenberg on December 12, 2019

 

Going for surgery anytime soon? It’s probably a good idea to suggest that your surgeon listen to a little Mozart or Bach during the operation — but not too loud. They’ll be faster and more accurate — that’s the recommendation distilled from a recent scientific research study.

The study was recently published in the International Journal of Surgery, and involved researchers from Scotland, Sweden, and Finland. The new paper reviews existing research data. After evaluating 18 international studies, nine articles with a total of 212 participants were included in the review.

As the study noted, music is already played in operating theatres as a matter of course by most doctors and nurses — about two-thirds, as it turns out. Participants said that listening to music reduced stress and made them feel more relaxed. Patients also reported that music played before their surgeries reduced stress levels.

Almost all the respondents preferred classical music of some kind, with a slight preference for Mozart piano sonatas. Classical music was used in six of the studies, and music of choice in the others.

The results of the study also seem to favour classical music played at medium to low volume levels, with hip hop coming in second in some key areas of the study. However, researchers also noted that music can have a mixed effect. At times, it can be distracting, and affect communication between members of the surgical team.

The review noted that beneficial effects were reported in various areas of performance, including instrument handling, accuracy, and quality of the various tasks that make up a surgical intervention. One study found that playing music reduced muscle fatigue.

The paper notes the so-called “Mozart effect” — that classical music reduces stress and helps the surgeons to focus — but it’s a difficult premise to prove. Specifically, surgical procedures were completed up to 10 percent quicker, and the quality of work such as skin repairs was higher. Patients also seem to benefit. They need less anaesthetic and fewer painkillers.

Turn the music too loud, however, and it can have the opposite effect. Loud or what is called “high-beat” music can actually cause an increase in post-operative infections. It can also lead to miscommunications between members of the surgical team, which, as the researchers note, is one of the leading causes of mistakes. ‘Miscommunication is one of the most frequently identified causes for medical errors and adverse events, therefore, miscommunication must be considered when playing music in the operating theatres.’

Dr Michael El Boghdady of the University of Dundee is the study’s lead researcher. He is quoted in The Sun. “Our results are based on strong scientific evidence and show that the positive effect of music on surgeon’s performance in the operating theatre, overrides any negative effects.

“Classic music when played with a low to medium volume can improve surgical performances by increasing accuracy and speed.

“But the distracting effect of music should be considered when playing a loud or high-beat type of music in the operating theatre.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that music in operating theatres not exceed 30 decibels.

Researchers cautioned that the settings used in the study were simulated rather than live surgery, and noted the relatively low number of participants. However, they were optimistic about the positive effects of music during surgery.

The practice of listening to music during surgery is, according to the British Medical Journal, thousands of years old, dating as far back as 4000 BC to a time when priests and musicians played harp and other instruments during medical procedures.

#LUDWIGVAN

Want more updates on classical music and opera news and reviews? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for all the latest.

Follow me

Anya Wassenberg

Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn.
Follow me
Follow me

Anya Wassenberg

Anya Wassenberg is a Senior Writer and Digital Content Editor at Ludwig Van. She is an experienced freelance writer, blogger and writing instructor with OntarioLearn.
Follow me
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Canadian Choirs Write Letter Calling For Fair Consideration To Re-Open

By Michael Vincent on June 24, 2020

Leaders from choral groups across Canada have released an open letter to the public regarding concerns about re-opening amid COVID-19.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

THE SCOOP | COC’s Alexander Neef Responds To Rumors Of An Early Departure

By Michael Vincent on June 12, 2020

The Canadian Opera Company (COC) and General Director Alexander Neef respond to media speculation about his departure for Paris.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Shostakovich: ‘An Essential Record, Five Star From Start To Finish’

By Norman Lebrecht on June 26, 2020

Anglo-Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova's playing of the two Shostakovich concertos gives a wholly new dimension to appreciation of the works.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.