A new study casts doubt on the wisdom of playing music in the operation room which is believed to help surgeons in their concentration and efficiency.
According to the study published in the latest issue of Journal of Advanced Nursing, playing music during surgeries was found to hinder communication and lead to potential mistakes.
The researchers filmed 20 surgeries over a six month period, some with music and some without. They specifically analyzing communication between doctors.
In the recorded 5,203 request and response communications, it is found that repeated requests were about 5 times more likely when music was playing during a procedure. Based on the surgeries they recorded, a repeated request can add between 4 and 68 seconds to a surgery.
"Regardless of whether music can increase surgeons' concentration and mask extraneous noise, anything that might impair team communication might place patients safety in jeopardy," the study concluded.
Music has a long history in the operating rooms. A hundred years ago, a pioneering surgeon in England hired musicians to soothe the jangled nerves of patients undergoing anesthesia before going under the knife.