Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Soft music helps surgeons perform operations better; music in operation theatre gives better coordination

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

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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