The Effect of Music on the Efficiency of Surgical Closures

Pig-Foot-and-Music“Time” as they say “is money.” Especially relevant perhaps, in a plastic surgery operating theatre, in which running costs can reach $66 a minute. And where, for example, “A 10% reduction in operative time per hour equals savings of $396 per hour.” What might help to speed-up surgeons’ performance (without of course compromising accuracy and efficiency)? Music perhaps? To find out, an experimental study was performed by Shelby R. Lies MD, and Professor Andrew Yuan Zhang MD, of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch.

“The purpose of our study is to evaluate the effects of playing music on plastic surgery residents performing layered wound closure on a simulation model using pigs’ feet.”


“The pigs’ feet were stored and separately presented to three blinded faculty plastic surgeons [the following day] for grading. The quality of repair was graded on a 1-5 scale. Factors taken into consideration by the faculty for the final summative grade included apposition of wound edges, evenness in superficial to deep plane, step-offs, overlapping, any gaping with manual spreading perpendicular to repair, suture knot visibility or unraveling, uniform appearance, and the amount of eversion.”


“Our study showed improved efficiency of repair in a simulated wound model while residents listened to music of their preference. There is an overall reduction of operative time of 8% in all residents. The reduction improved to 10% in upper-level residents. The quality of the repair also improved slightly in the music-listening group. In the current health care environment, where cost reduction is center stage and operative time is money, every second counts.”

see: ‘Prospective Randomized Study of the Effect of Music on the Efficiency of Surgical Closures’ Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 2015, Vol 35(7).

Also see: Background music can cause confusion in the operating theatre (new study)