Wednesday 20 November 2019

Music 'reduces pain and anxiety' for surgery patients study finds

Music during surgery can reduce pain and anxiety
Music during surgery can reduce pain and anxiety

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Researchers have found that listening to music before, during or after surgery can help to reduce pain significantly.

A study carried out at the Queen Mary University of London said the patients who listened to music were less anxious after their surgery and required less pain relief.

Writing in the Lancet, the team said findings indicated music had been effective even while the patients were under general anesthetic.

The team reviewed 70 trials, involving about 7,000 patients around the time of surgery, comparing a wide variety of mostly "soothing" music.

They contrasted this by providing some patients with headphones with no music, white noise and routine care.

While there was an effect on stress and pain, music did not reduce the length of hospital stays.

The lead author, Dr Catherine Meads, said Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album had helped soothe her pain three hours after hip surgery in April.

Music was a safe, cheap and non-invasive option that should "be available to everyone having surgery", she said.

The researchers are following up this work with a study at the Royal London Hospital in the autumn.

About 40 women having a Caesarean section will be given the chance to have their playlist connected to a pillow with in-built loudspeakers.

Hazim Sadideen, a plastic surgeon from University Hospitals Birmingham who has also researched the role of music, said the study was comprehensive.

"Undertaking both minor and major surgery can induce stress.

"Music can be used as an additional modality or adjunct to improve the patient journey, of course it is important to ensure the patient and theatre team would like music to be played," he said.

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