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Under the Knife: How Surgeons Are Affected By Different Music Genres

Two recent studies, one published by the British Medical Journal, and another from UK publication The Guardian, have revealed that music helps surgeons achieve better results across test environments and live surgery.

In both studies, it really mattered which kind of music the medical practitioners were listening to - if you are an experienced surgeon, the study found that statistically you would be more likely to perform less efficiently and produce lower quality stitching (when closing a wound) if you were listening to heavy metal music like this...

...than if you were listening to calm, classical music like this:

The study also showed that hip-hop could be beneficial during procedures, so clearly Xzibit's "Papparazzi" (a remix of the 1887 Pavane in F-sharp minor by French composer Gabriel Fauré…thank you Wikipedia) would be the best track to perform surgery too... right?

This is only for the pros though, as junior doctors that tested in similar studies performed worse in rudimentary surgical tasks across the board. In fact there have been conflicting studies in which the majority of practitioners surveyed said that they found music "distracting."

So what about EDM? Well, apparently it really depends on the preference of the practitioners themselves. With the majority of operating teams (80% according to the British Medical Journal) listening to music during operations, the real issue is picking tracks that everyone likes! After all you wouldn’t want to be changing tracks halfway through a procedure - who would do the mixing?

A study from Surgical Endoscopy showed that surgeons performed worse when listening to "activating" music. I suppose the clue is in the name; you wouldn’t want a surgeon listening to EDM if there was any dancing involved! Or for that matter, waiting two minutes for the beat to drop to get started when the patient has one minute to live.

But it’s not just the surgeons - a 2013 study from Pain Management Nursing showed a significant reduction in post-op pain for patients who were played music when compared to those who were not. Also, in 2009 a study of 372 patients showed that relaxing music can help reduce anxiety in patients prior to and during the operation, and some operating teams have even given patients the option of what music they want to be anesthetized to...

Hmm… I’d go for Adam F "Circles", how can you have anything but good dreams to this? In fact, I reckon they should start printing that on your insurance/donor card next to your blood type: B+, "Strictly drum & bass."

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