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Music during surgery reduces pain and anxiety

Patients who listen to music at or around the time of surgery, experience lower levels of anxiety or pain than patients who do not listen to music before, during or after an operation.

muziek als medicijn

Even patients undergoing surgery under general anesthesia experienced less pain if they listened to music through headphones. Erasmus MC researchers have published their findings on 'perioperative music' in the leading scientific journal British Journal of Surgery.

Rosalie Kühlmann, of Erasmus MC, conducted a meta-study on the use of music during surgery. Surgical patients who listen to music experience less anxiety, pain, and stress after an operation, even if the music is only played while the patient is under anesthesia. The study was conducted as part of the Music as Medicine project of Prof. Hans Jeekel, Emeritus Professor of Surgery at Erasmus MC.

Kühlmann says: "For many years now there have been indications that music has an effect on the brain; on anxiety, stress, and pain. Our study now shows that there is clear scientific evidence for this effect. It is now evidence-based, which means that surgical guidelines can now also be made. Perioperative music is very easy to implement, and it is safe, sustainable, and has no side effects."

For further information, see "Meta analysis evaluating music interventions for anxiety and pain in surgery".

Date published: 20 April 2018.

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