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Listening to music during surgery helps patients relax

A study has revealed that as well as minimising their anxiety, music could even aid the healing process
 Patients relax if they listen to music during surgery
 
 

Surgeons are claiming that playing music during surgical procedures helps patients and relax and reduces their anxiety.

It comes after a study found certain types of music – classical music, easy-to-listen tracks and current chart hits – have a calming effect on patients who only require a local anaesthetic and have to stay awake during surgery.

They also believe listening to music during surgery, or even the radio, helps patients to recover from procedures faster.

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In total, 96 patients had their progress during and after surgery tracked and analysed by a team from the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, UK.

The patients were randomly split into two groups, with one half undergoing surgery in silence and the remaining 50 percent listening to music.

In both groups there were patients having planned NHS reconstructive surgery and others were undergoing plastic surgery procedures to heal trauma to their bodies.

The researchers measured the patients’ anxiety by monitoring their breathing rate during surgery and afterwards asked them to rate how anxious they felt during the procedure.

Patient feedback revealed that the group of patients who listened to music accompanying their surgical procedure felt, on average, 29 percent less anxious than the other group.

The music group were breathing at a rate of 11 breaths per minute, while those in the silent group were taking 13 breaths a minute.

“Undergoing surgery can be a stressful experience for patients and finding ways of making them more comfortable should be our goal as clinicians,” said Hazim Sadideen, who led the study.

He added: “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-centre research to establish whether this should become part of standard practice.”

The findings have been published in the journal Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons.

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