Music Helps Surgeons Do Better Stitches

October 6, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. surgeon / ˈsɜr dʒən / (n.) – a doctor who is an expert in operations
Example: The surgeon is ready for the heart transplant.

2. incision / ɪnˈsɪʒ ən / (n.) – a cut on one’s body
Example: Stitching helps close an incision.

3. efficiency / ɪˈfɪʃ ən si / (n.) – the state of being able to do things without wasting resources such as time and materials
Example: The hospital management wants to improve the efficiency of its operations.

4. undergo / ˌʌn dərˈgoʊ / (v.) – to experience or go through something
Example: You need to undergo the operation immediately.

5. anxiety / æŋˈzaɪ ɪ ti / (n.) – the feeling of being nervous or scared of what may happen
Example: The patient felt a lot of anxiety before the operation.


Read the text below.
Listening to music during an operation helps surgeons stitch or close incisions better, a new study revealed.

Researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston [GAL-vuh-stuh n] conducted the study. It involved 15 plastic surgeons tasked to close an incision on the feet of some pigs. On the first day, half of the surgeons did the procedure while they were listening to music that they liked, while the other half worked in silence. On the second day, the first half had no music to listen to when doing the procedure, while the second half listened to music that they preferred.

Results of the study revealed that the surgeons’ technique and efficiency when conducting the procedure improved when they listened to music. On average, the surgeons were able to finish the procedure 7% faster when music was playing.

The experience of the surgeons also had an effect on their performance. Senior surgeons or surgeons with more experience, for instance, finished the procedure 10% faster when listening to music. On the other hand, junior surgeons or those with less experience finished the same procedure 8% faster when they listened to music.

Aside from helping surgeons, listening to music is also beneficial to patients who undergo an operation. Experts from Queen Mary University of London, Brunel [broo-NEL] University, and the BartsHealth NHS Trust reviewed 73 previous experiments on how music affected almost 7,000 patients to prove this claim.

They found that listening to music before, during, and even after an operation reduced the pain and anxiety that the patients felt. Also, music helped patients recover faster after their operation.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What can be the disadvantages of listening to music while performing an operation?
·         If you were to suggest a song or composition to be played during an operation, what would it be and why?

Discussion B

·         Aside from helping surgeons and patients, how else can listening to music be beneficial to people?
·         How do you think music will change in the next 50 years?

October 6, 2015