A new study from The University of Texas shows that when plastic surgeons listen to music they prefer, their surgical efficiency when closing incisions is improved. The study is currently available in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.
Earlier studies have shown that listening to music during operations can lower the stress levels of surgeons, there is limited information on the effects of music on technical performance while completing a surgical task, such as giving stiches.
Fifteen plastic surgery residents were asked to close incisions with layered stitches on pigs' feet obtained at a local food market -- pigs' feet are widely accepted as similar to human skin.
The doctors were not informed of the purpose of the study. They were asked to do their best and to notify the researchers when they completed a closure. The day after the first incision closing exercise, the residents were asked to do another repair using identical technique with the music either being turned on or off, in opposition to the first closure.
"We recognized that our subjects could potentially improve on the second repair simply as the result of repetition," said author Dr. Shelby Lies. "This effect was reduced by randomly assigning the residents to music first or no music first groups."
The average repair completion time for all doctors was 7 percent shorter when their preferred music was playing. Playing their preferred music led to a 10 percent reduction of repair time for senior residents as compared to an 8 percent time reduction seen in the junior residents.
"Spending less time in the operating room can translate into significant cost reductions, particularly when incision closure is a large portion of the procedure, such as in a tummy tuck,”
"Longer duration under general anesthesia is also linked with increased risk of adverse events for the patient."
The quality of the work was judged by plastic surgeons who did not know whose work they were analyzing or other conditions of the study. The judges' ratings confirmed an overall improvement in repair quality while music was played, regardless of whether the resident did the repair with their music first or second.
"Our study confirmed that listening to the surgeon's preferred music improves efficiency and quality of wound closure, which may translate to health care cost savings and better patient outcomes," said the author.
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