Undergoing surgery can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for many reasons. If you have ever had surgery, especially emergency surgery, you understand this firsthand. The prospect of anesthesia, postoperative pain, a surgical error, and the long recovery ahead are all factors that may induce anxiety in surgery patients. The surgical environment, (often noisy with machinery beeps, full of unfamiliar faces, and uncomfortably bright), can compound this pre-existing fear.
A recent study by Palmer, Lane and Mayo investigated music therapy’s impact on reducing surgery-related anxiety in women undergoing surgery for breast cancer. The study was completed at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and included 207 subjects over two years.
Participants were randomly assigned to one of several groups. Patients in Group 1 participated in patient-selected live music with a music therapist before operation, and then listened to therapist-selected recorded music during the operation. Group 2 listened to a patient-selected music recording with a music therapist before operation and then listened to therapist-selected recorded music during the operation. Group 3 received standard care before the operation and utilized sound-reducing headphones during the operation.
The researchers found that patients that received a five-minute music therapy session (whether live or recorded music) preoperatively exhibited significantly reduced anxiety when compared to patients who had received only standard care. Patients who participated in the music conditions also recorded high satisfaction ratings overall.
Patients and clinicians alike recognized the impact music therapy had on patient’s anxiety, and were excited about the potential for continued use in the operating room.
For more information about music therapy please visit www.musictherapy.org or continue to explore our website.
Amber Bruns, MT-BC
Palmer, J. B., Lane, D., & Mayo, D. (2017). Surgical music therapy: The significance and implementation of music therapy in the operating arena. Music Therapy Perspectives, 35(1), 30-35. https://doi.org/10.1093/mtp/miv036