Healthcare News & Insights

‘If it’s a mastectomy, play Mozart; Bach for the bowels’

It’s no secret most surgeons like to play music in the operating room. Now someone is finally studying if different types of music can impact how well those docs perform. Dr. Claudius Conrad, a senior surgical resident at Massachusetts General, plays different musical genres depending on the procedure he’s performing. His personal interest in music, and his professional use of it, led him to wonder whether music in the OR could actually become a tool to improve physician performance and patient outcome.

Conrad set up a study by having surgeons perform simulated laparoscopic surgeries while listening to one of three different things: silence, Mozart, or a chaotic mix of German folk music and modern death metal.

Although the study is small and in its early stages, it provides some tantalizing data. Doctors listening to the death metal mix learned the procedures more slowly and took longer to do the procedures — but their accuracy wasn’t compromised when compared to those who worked with no music.

Doctors who listened to Mozart worked at different speeds, but their accuracy was better than that of docs who worked in silence.

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