Friday, 9 September 2011

Music in operation theatre: Surgeons listen to classical and other music for better coordination, success

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Aug 20: Dr Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna, MS
Subbulakshmi, Ustad Bismillah Khan and other great musicians and
singers have one thing in common in operation theatres: they inspire
surgeons, anaesthesiologists and nursing staff to perform surgeries
more skilfully and with better coordination.

The practice of listening to music in operation theatres while
performing surgeries is fast catching up in the country with more and
more doctors and paramedical staff playing soft classical instrumental
music, ghazals and even filmi songs. Doctors in some hospitals have
made special arrangement to listen to their favourite music, while a
few corporate hospitals have set up operation theatres and catheter
labs with inbuilt speakers. In some hospitals, patients, who are put
on local or regional anaesthesia, are asked before hand which type of
music they would prefer in the operation theatre.

According to Dr N Ranga Bhashyam, senior gastroenterologist and former
honorary surgeon to the President, playing slow classical music in
operation theatre gives a sedative effect to patients, lessens
irritation and provides a sense of calmness to doctors. "Playing music
during childbirth has a great impact on the patient. Even violent
people in mental hospitals can be controlled through slow music of
instruments like flute, violin and veena," he adds.

Dr J Shiv Kumar, cardiologist, says he plays music in his cath lab to
keep the blood pressure and heart beat of his patients under control.
"Any music including rock gives a definite impact in theatre. It is
fast catching up here as many doctors believe that it gives them
enough confidence," he adds.

Cancer surgeon Dr P Raghuram points out that playing soft instrumental
music soothes the mind of the surgeon. "The volume must be low and the
music should be only in the background. It encourages organised
thought, improves concentration and dexterity of surgeons In some
theatres pop music is played, but it detracts the attention," he says.

According to senior urologist Dr Kim Mammen, who conducted a study on
the impact of music on surgical staff, playing music in operation
theatre helped in "reducing the autonomic reactivity of theatre
personnel in stressful surgeries allowing them to approach their
surgeries in a more thoughtful and relaxed manner."

Dr Kim said they found that instrumental music was the most sought
after type of music, followed by FM radio, ghazals, English country,
English classical and Indian classical.

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