Using Music Interventions in Perioperative Care

Lori Gooding, PhD, MT-BC; Shane Swezey, BM, MT-BC; Joseph B. Zwischenberger, MD


South Med J. 2012;105(9):486-490. 

In This Article

Music in the Intraoperative Stage

Intraoperative uses of music are the least cited in the literature. Nilsson's review showed only nine studies focused on intraoperative uses of music.[3] Results from that review, as well as other studies, suggest that music used during the intraoperative period is primarily focused on masking aversive sound stimuli, reducing anxiety, and reducing sedative and/or analgesia requirements.[3,17–19]

Sener et al studied the impact of music intervention on masking environmental noise and reducing anxiety. This study compared the effect of operating room noise, white noise, and music on anxiety in patients who had been administered fixed doses of midazolam infusion under spinal anesthesia. Results showed that individuals in the music group had the lowest anxiety rates and the highest satisfaction. The authors speculated that the music reduced uncomfortable operating room noise, thereby reducing anxiety and increasing satisfaction.[17]

Nilsson et al examined the effect of music, music combined with therapeutic suggestions, and operating room noise on recovery (analgesia intake, fatigue) in women undergoing elective abdominal hysterectomy surgery.[18] Each condition occurred continuously from time of incision to time of wound closure. Results suggest that patients exposed to music in combination with therapeutic suggestions required less rescue analgesia on the day of surgery and that patients in the music group experienced more effective analgesia the first day after surgery and mobilized sooner after the operation. In addition, the music and music/therapeutic suggestion groups were less fatigued at discharge.

Lepage et al examined the effect of music on sedative requirements during spinal anesthesia. Outpatient and short-stay patients were randomly assigned to music or no-music groups; all of the patients had access to midazolam. Patients were given the music devices after entering preop and were allowed to keep the music devices throughout the remainder of the surgical process, with small interruptions for anxiety measurements via State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-State Anxiety and the Visual Analog Scale 0–10. Based on study results, the authors concluded that patients listening to music needed less midazolam to achieve the same level of relaxation as controls.[19]