When surgeons listen to music they like, they are both more efficient at closing incisions and their technique improves. It’s a fact.
But what exactly are surgeons listening to while you’re under the knife? Thanks to Spotify, we have the answer. TL;DR: mostly rock.
We’re talking Metallica, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Scorpions. According to a survey conducted by Spotify and Figure 1, rock is the most popular genre of music surgeons listen to while operating (49 per cent), followed closely by pop (48 per cent), classical music (43 per cent), jazz (24 per cent) and R&B (21 per cent).
Dr Alan I Benvenisty, a NYC-based vascular and transplant surgeon at Mount Sinai Health System, is known to play rock and heavy metal during his operations.
“People’s lives are in my hands and listening to rock puts me in a comfortable place so my full attention is on my patients,” he says. “I listen to bands from my youth and the feeling of nostalgia brings me to a calm, focused place.”
Nearly all (90 per cent) of surgeons and surgical residents listen to music in the OR, with the majority (89 per cent) preferring playlists over albums. Almost one-third (31 per cent) of these doctors have more than five playlists on rotation.
Doctors surveyed reported that music relaxes and calms them in the OR, helps improve mood and focus, and breaks tension when there are quiet moments. One surgeon stated, “It calms the nerves and improves staff morale.” Another added, “At times it keeps the room mellow and coordinated, and at other times it keeps the pace up.”
Musical selections in the OR aren’t just up to the medical team: Many surgeons also reported that they take requests. If the patient is awake, they have a say in the soundtrack. Said one doctor, “We do C-sections where the patients are awake. If they have a preference we go with what they want. If not, we have fun with it and play name that tune from old TV shows, old songs, etc.”
Rock is also popular for the medical professionals whose jobs are focused on putting patients to sleep during operations. Anesthesiologists, anesthesiology residents and certified nurse anesthetists report listening to rock (44 per cent) when working, with only pop music (59 per cent) edging out the genre for these sleep-specialists.
Of course, safety is always paramount. Survey participants reported that music is turned down during critical points in the surgery and when there are complications.
Here’s a playlist of the most common songs appearing on surgeon’s playlists: