Twerking in the Operating Room – What’s On Your Playlist?

operating room

 

Although it’s an ongoing debate on whether listening to music can help you focus, many of us are tuned in at work to block out outside noise and maintain focus on individual tasks at hand. This includes surgeons operating on patients. According to a report published by the BMJ, 62-72% of the time there is operating room music being played during surgery and is most often chosen by the leading surgeon.

After a user on Quora asked, “Why do surgeons listen to music in the operating room?“, Dr. Madiwalesh Chhebbi responded, “We love music. It helps calm the nerves, keep mind focussed, achieve higher levels of concentration, blurs the beeps from the monitors and the anesthetists’ boring talks.”

In a study by the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), they found that surgeons listening to music completed stitches about 7% faster than those working without music. In ways, music not only benefits the surgeon but the patient as well. Faster surgeries mean health care cost savings and less time spent under general anesthesia, which translates to increased chances of better patient outcomes.

Even Bill Hader’s character in the movie Trainwreck, Dr. Aaron Conners, who is a knee surgeon, likes to blast Uptown Girl by Bill Joel while performing knee surgery on star athletes like it’s just another day in the office.

 

So what do surgeons actually listen to in the OR?

We decided to ask real surgeons what kind of operating room music they prefer and below we quoted some of their answers:

“Classical music may be soothing but I think the best music to listen to during surgery is what the surgeon likes to hear. I have heard heavy rock during tedious surgeries such as microsurgery, moved my feet to pop and swayed with a piece from Wagner.

Do you remember studying for a test? Some people like it quiet, others can study if they were sitting next to a deafening speaker.

The real question is who gets to pick the music in the room, the anesthesiologist or the surgeon. I kid you not! There are actually arguments at times. I favor the surgeon, perhaps I am biased.”

Sharon T. Mclaughlin-Weber MD FACS
“The nurses often listen but when I am operating I must focus so intently on what I am doing that I honestly couldn’t tell you what is playing. Only when I begin putting in final skin sutures do I hear music again.” 
Dr. Mary J. Milroy, Breast Disease Surgeon 
Yankton Medical Clinic, P.C.
“I do a large number of dental implants, often on patients who are not sedated (60-90 min appointments).  I find the best music to listen to is the one the patient enjoys, as it puts them to ease and helps relax them.  So my team encourages patients to bring in their own music, and we hook it up via an earphone extension to speakers.”
Gregory Cumberford, DDS, GPR
Check out Dr. Cumberford’s volunteer dentistry efforts here.
“Music in surgery?  Really it’s all about what creates focus for the surgeon. For me, it’s blues or jam band music.  Give me some Buddy Guy or a 30-minute M.O.E. jam and I’ll get the job done.”
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM
Medical Director
Favorite genre(s)/song(s): 
     “Love Vivaldi the Four Seasons, Enya and James Taylor also orchestral spiritual music..”
Why do you listen to this type of music? What does it do for you?
     “I listen to music most of the time.  Tend to start with classical or mellow new age type music at low level. At the end of a long case will listen to soft rock.”
Do you take requests from the OR team and/or the patients?
     “Will give the OR staff a choice, tend to do this for shorter cases.
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Medical Director of the Breast Cancer Center at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center
Favorite genre(s):
     “Alternative rock, classic rock, hip/hop – depends on the day and the case.  I used to create my own playlists with iPods, but the Pandora and XM options are so good, that I typically stream.  Sometimes I’ll listen to XM Comedy Central as well.”
Do you take requests from OR team and or the patients?
     “I’ll take requests from anyone, but typically limit how long I’ll listen to the genre if I’m not feeling it.  And I never listen to country.”
Why do you listen to this type of music? What does it do for you?
     “Music helps me think and concentrate, which is particularly important for long cases (over 4 hours).  If the room is quite, all you hear is the anesthesia machine which is monotonous.  I’m not sure if it affects the patient, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.”
How loud is the music?
     “We keep the music at a volume where communication between OR team is not compromised.”
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center
Favorite genre(s): 
     “Hip-hop/rap, Indie, Alternative”
Favorite song(s):
     “Anything by Drake, Fetty Wap, Kendrick Lamar, Gucci Mane, The Weeknd, Hot Hot Heat”
Do you take requests from OR team and or the patients?
     “Yes mostly from the OR team, important to keep them happy.  For patients who request something, we play during anesthesia induction.”
Why do you listen to this type of music? What does it do for you?
     “I listen to the music I listed because it is more of a positive distraction. I really enjoy classical music; however, I can’t listen to it due to my classical training. When I listen to classical music, I must listen carefully and analytically. The other type of music is like background noise to me (elevator music), and it helps drown out the non-important, non-clinical conversations that can occur in the OR.”
How loud is the music?
     “The volume of the music varies; however, it remains at a level where communication amongst the team is not compromised in any way.”
Daniel Z. Liu, M.D.
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center
operating room music
What are your thoughts on playing music in the operating room? What’s on your operating room music playlist?