Research is in: Music during Surgery is a great idea!

Research is in:  Music during Surgery is a great idea!
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Saturday, April 10, 2010

This Blog has Moved! Note new address and re-subscribe!

Hello Friends and Fans of Surgical Serenity Headphones!  I have moved this blogs and all it's associated widgets to  The  "Blogger" version will remain but all new posts will be to the Wordpress blog housed on my website.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me!

As you've probably realized my focus is going more and more to music with surgery although every possible application of music in medicine is of great interest to me!

Here's to your good health through music!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Does Music Help with Anesthesia Process During Labor and Delivery?

Anytime anesthesia is used in childbirth, whether local, regional or general, augmenting the effect by adding music to the picture will be beneficial.  Especially in the case of childbirth, where the baby is also experiencing the anesthesia that mother receives, wearing the surgery headphones with calming, soothing music will be a plus!
Anesthetics: Options for Childbirth

Haven't got time for the pain? From total unconsciousness to spinals and blocks, traditional medicine offers a range of pain relief, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Anesthetics, substances that cause partial or complete loss of sensation, have long been the most common pain relief for labor and delivery. Here are the most commonly used anesthetics.

General and Regional Anesthesia During Childbirth

Decades ago, women were commonly put under general anesthesia, which quickly puts the entire body (and mind, of course) completely to sleep. It’s the same stuff you’d get — usually inhaled, although sometimes it is delivered intravenously, or through a combination of routes — if you were having open heart surgery or a kidney removed. Though it’s extremely safe, it is as extreme as it sounds, which is why general anesthesia isn’t used today for childbirth unless an emergency cesarean is required and there’s no time to give a regional anesthetic (like a spinal block). General anesthesia can also be required in a difficult vaginal breech birth, to deliver the baby’s head.

What general anesthesia does: If you have to have general anesthesia, expect to be totally knocked out for the entire birth. You’ll wake up groggy, disoriented, perhaps restless, and with a sore throat from the endotracheal tube (used to ensure that you don’t breathe the contents of your stomach into your lungs). You’ll also probably be rather queasy and may vomit, and will have sluggish bowels and bladder. The effects vary from person to person.

Just as you’re sedated temporarily (to get you through the delivery), so too will your baby be (temporarily). To reduce the effect, the anesthesiologist will try to put you out very close to your actual delivery, reducing the amount of drugs that get through your system and into the baby.

Epidural During Childbirth
Your baby won’t be affected by an epidural, the pain relief of choice for half of all laboring women (including both vaginal and cesarean) delivering at hospitals. An epidural is also an anesthetic, but it is injected directly into the spine (technically, into the epidural space, which is located between the ligament that sheathes the vertebrae and the membrane that covers the spinal cord), and so the drug bypasses the bloodstream — making it safer for your baby. In the past, there was some concern that an epidural might increase the likelihood of cesarean section (because it might prolong the labor), but recent studies dispute that notion.

How epidurals are administered: It’s not an instant shot; an anesthesiologist must administer an epidural through a thin catheter that is inserted into your back, and it could take 15 minutes (or longer) for the drugs to kick in. But it could be given to you as soon as you ask for one — no need to wait until you’re dilated a certain amount (like three or four centimeters) as used to be recommended. Studies now show that even an early epidural doesn’t increase the chances of C-section as was once believed.

You’ll first be put on an IV (the effect of the drugs can sometimes dramatically lower blood pressure; the fluids will keep it from going too low). You’ll then have to lie on your left side or sit leaning over a table or your coach, and your back will be swabbed with antiseptic. You’ll feel the prick of a local anesthetic, and then a large needle (which you won’t feel) will be inserted into the epidural space. Through that needle, the anesthesiologist inserts a catheter — the thin tubing that will be left behind (and taped to your back) and through which the drug is delivered. The needle is then removed and you’ll be able to lie down again. You’ll also have a catheter inserted into your urethra (the loss of lower body sensation from the procedure means you also will have no idea when you have to pee).

How epidurals make you feel: Once the epidural starts working, your entire lower body will feel numb, including the nerves of your uterus, so you won’t feel the pain of contractions (you’ll note the tensing of your uterus and some pressure). Some women have trouble pushing on an epidural (because they can’t feel their body or sense the peak of the contractions); others report no trouble. If you do find you’re having trouble pushing, you can ask to have the epidural turned off for the pushing part. Afterward, you might feel cold, experience numbness on one side of your body, and you’ll be a bit rubbery-legged.

Combined Spinal Epidural
Another epidural option is the combined spinal epidural, a type of epidural available only in some hospitals (ask your practitioner if it’s available in your hospital). The anesthesiologist starts the mom off with a shot of anesthetic directly into the spinal fluid to help relieve some pain, but because the anesthetic is only in the spinal fluid, the woman can still feel and use the muscles in her legs (which is why it’s also called a walking epidural). When the woman feels she needs more pain relief, more medication is placed into the epidural space (through a catheter that was inserted at the same time the spinal medication was administered).

Other Anesthetic Options for Childbirth

Other types of anesthetics you might get include a pudendalblock, which is injected into the perineal or vaginal area to reduce pain there (although you’ll still feel the full force of your contractions), a spinal block (for a cesarean delivery), or a low spinal or saddle block (for forceps assisted delivery or vacuum vaginal extraction). These are given as a simple shot into the fluid around the spinal cord. You’ll be numb, as with an epidural, and may feel queasy afterward. With a spinal, you’ll have to stay flat on your back for about eight hours after delivery.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Surgery Headphones Advisory Board has 1st meeting: 3/11/2010

Tonight was an historical moment as my initial board of directors met!  Many exciting proposals and ideas were put forth and plans were made for my appearance at the Louisville Venture Sharks presentation in April !   Earlier today I received a shipment of 50 new headsets that I will now program with my proprietary music for surgery.  I'm expecting several waves of orders to come in soon from Mexico and California.  I've gotten orders from 8 different states as well as Mexico.  Of course some people are buying the digital download of the music only and putting it on their iPod.  You can get the music at  Exciting things on the horizon!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Surgical Headphones FAQ

The headphones have been on the market for almost a year now and I'm selling them (and the download) primarily to individuals.  Once the data is gathered and the proof of their efficacy is undeniable, I will begin marketing them to hospitals and surgical centers, in earnest. 

What I've noticed so far is that certain questions come up over and over.  I thought I would share them, and my response, with you now.

FAQ's for Surgical Headphones

1.  Q.  Why do I need to get your surgical headphones?  Why can't I just use my iPod?

     A.  Of course you can use your iPod (if your surgeon agrees).  The main reason to use my headphones is that there are no wires or cords to get in the way of medical devices being used and more importantly...the music has been especially chosen and sequenced by a clinical musicologist who has been studying what the best music for surgery is for 20 years!

2.   Q How do the headphones fit on my head?

      A The headphones fit behind the neck and hook over the ears. Both earpieces are padded and the headset is very comfortable.

3.  Q  Can the headphones also be used at home?

     A.  Absolutely! The headphones can be used anywhere, including outdoors, during exercise of any kind, or in bed.

4.   Q.  Can I change the music on the headphones later if I want to put some of my favorite music on them?

      A.  Yes you can.  You can completely remove the surgery music or you can leave it there and add 6-8 more hours of your own favorite music for relaxation, energizing, exercising or whatever you wish.

5.  Q.  Will the headphones be sterilized before surgery?
     A.  Your headphones will be brand-new when you receive them and won't need to be sterilized.  You will probably try them out several times before your procedure to be sure you now how to turn them off and on as well as recharge them.  You might want to wipe them down with a disinfectant before you arrive at the hospital, but nothing else is necessary!

6.  Q.  How soon should I order them before my procedure?
    A.  It's a good idea to order them as soon as you know you're having surgery so that you can get familiar with them and even listen to the music numerous times.  However, they are very easy to operate and all you really need to know is how to turn them on.

7.  Q.  How long will the music play?
     A.  The music will play for 7-8 hours without needing to be recharged!  The surgery track is about an hour long and will repeat continuously until they are turned off!

I'm sure there are many more questions you might have, and feel free to contact me through the comment option on this blog or from my website

Friday, February 19, 2010

More research on benefits of live music during surgery

Classical music played on a piano in the operating room for 115 patients having eye surgery at the former St. Francis Medical Center-Liliha had "profound" physical benefits, it was reported today.

The music lowered the patients' blood pressure and heart and respiratory rates before any sedation or pain medication, according to a paper in the Medscape Journal of Medicine, a Web resource for physicians of peer-reviewed medical journal articles.

Dr. Jorge Camara, a classically trained pianist and ophthalmologist, played music for patients before surgery as part of a study from May to August 2005 to demonstrate the medical benefits of music.

The classical and semi-classical pieces ranged from Debussy's "Arabesque No. 1 in E Major" and Chopin's "Etude in E Major, Op. 10 No. 3," to "The More I See You," by Harry Warren and Mack Gordon.

The patients, 49 to 79 years old, were having surgery for the first time. The study reports average decreases of 21 percent in their blood pressure, 8 percent in heart rate and 21 percent in breathing rate.

"This sentinel paper validates the growing evidence that listening to relaxing music has profound beneficial effects on the physiologic functions of the human body," said Camara, director of ophthalmology in the Department of Surgery, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

He believes it's the first study in which a surgeon performed on a piano in an operating room for patients before surgery.

When Camara began the project, Samuel Wong, former Honolulu Symphony music director, and Arthur Harvey, former University of Hawaii music professor and researcher, joined him in playing the piano for patients.

A total of 203 patients underwent ophthalmologic procedures when the piano was in the operating room, but 88 had no music played. The result was "a statistically significant increase of their mean arterial blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate," the study found.

Co-authors of the paper, "The Effects of Live Classical Piano Music on the Vital Signs of Patients Undergoing Ophthalmic Surgery," are Joseph Ruszkowski, Kamehameha Schools music teacher, and Dr. Sandra R. Worak, a research fellow trained by Camara now working in the Philippines.

No complications were associated with the music, and patients "were very happy their doctor was playing the piano for them," Camara said in an interview.

He said Kahala painter Laurie McKeon, 57, one of the patients who heard live music, wrote about the experience, explaining how scared she was to have surgery and how the piano music made a huge difference.

She wrote: "The music soared above me, swirled around me. It penetrated through my pores, beyond my ears, past my mind and somehow, into my heart. I felt at peace. I felt safe. I felt like everything was going to be just fine. And it was."

Camara no longer has live piano music in his operating room but patients hear a recording of him playing the piano. He is past president of the Aloha Medical Mission and has given three piano concerts to benefit the organization at the Neil Blaisdell Concert Hall.

Citing growing interest in the medical benefits of music, he said, "So much more has to be studied," such as the effect on male versus female patients and rap music versus relaxing classical music. "This is only the beginning of a journey that will open our eyes to the wonderful potential of music for healing," he said.

By Helen Altonn

The paper can be seen on

Monday, February 15, 2010

Medical Study in Sweden documents music's power before surgery

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2009 Jul;53(6):759-64. Epub 2009 Apr 14.

Relaxing music as pre-medication before surgery: a randomised controlled trial. Bringman H, Giesecke K, Thörne A, Bringman S. Department of Surgery, Södertälje Hospital, SE-152 86 Södertälje, Sweden.
 INTRODUCTION: Patients who await surgery often suffer from fear and anxiety, which can be prevented by anxiolytic drugs. Relaxing music may be an alternative treatment with fewer adverse effects. This randomised clinical trial compared pre-operative midazolam with relaxing music.

METHOD: Three hundred and seventy-two patients scheduled for elective surgery were randomised to receive pre-operative prevention of anxiety by 0.05-0.1 mg/kg of midazolam orally or by relaxing music. The main outcome measure was the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI X-1), which was completed by the patients just before and after the intervention.

RESULTS: Of the 177 patients who completed the music protocol, the mean and (standard deviation) STAI-state anxiety scores were 34 (8) before and 30 (7) after the intervention. The corresponding scores for the 150 patients in the midazolam group were 36 (8) before and 34 (7) after the intervention. The decline in the STAI-state anxiety score was significantly greater in the music group compared with the midazolam group (P<0.001, 95% confidence interval range -3.8 to -1.8).

CONCLUSION: Relaxing music decreases the level of anxiety in a pre-operative setting to a greater extent than orally administrated midazolam. Higher effectiveness and absence of apparent adverse effects makes pre-operative relaxing music a useful alternative to midazolam for pre-medication.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Headphones for Labor and Delivery?

Recently, several people have asked me about the possibility of have some of my pre-programmed surgical headphones programmed for labor and deliver. I think it's a great idea because it could keep the labor progressing. The phenomenon of musical entrainment is powerful and the body responds to the tempo and mood of any piece of music! I've always that Ravel's "Bolero" would be a good piece for labor and delivery. What do you think?