Listening to music calms patients during plastic surgery procedures

April 24, 2012

Listening to music calms patients during plastic surgery procedures
Listening to music calms patients during plastic surgery procedures

A new study from Oxford University Hospitals finds that patients undergoing plastic surgery procedures may benefit from having music playing in the operating room.

Researchers from the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford measured the respiratory rates of 96 surgical patients before, during and after their procedures. They were also asked to rate their feelings of anxiety and worry. All of the participants were awake during surgery using local anesthetic for procedures like removal of skin lesions and cleansing of limb wounds. Half of the surgeries took place in rooms with music playing, while the others did not have music in the background.

The study found that those who listened to music during their procedure had lower respiratory rates and reported lower levels of anxiety.

"Undergoing surgery can be a stressful experience for patients and finding ways of making them more comfortable should be our goal as clinicians," said the study's lead author, Hazim Sadideen. "There are also good medical reasons - calmer patients may cope better with pain and recover quicker. This small scale work is the first time an attempt has been made to measure the impact music has in this specific group of patients and hints at the need for bigger multi-center research to establish whether this should become part of standard practice."

As for what type of music has the greatest calming effects, researchers say most of the subjects listened to classical pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, Vivaldi and Bach, according to The Telegraph. Others chose to listen to Frank Sinatra music.

This research may help patients have more enjoyable surgical experiences, as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reports that more than 9 million people underwent cosmetic procedures in 2011, some of which were performed while patients were awake.

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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