• Rock music rules operating rooms


    Metallica, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Scorpions—surgeon’s top choices
    While patients in hospital may benefit from lullabies or soft music to rest and heal, surgeons apparently need rock music to keep them awake and alive as they perform their tasks in the operating room.


    According to a survey conducted by music platform Spotify and Figure 1 (a knowledge-sharing app for doctors), rock is the preferred genre of surgeons while operating at 49 percent. Metallica, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Scorpions are the top artist choices.

    Coming in closely is the pop genre at 48 percent, classical music at 43 percent, jazz at 24 percent and R&B at 21 percent.

    According to the survey conducted on the app, nearly all (90 percent) of surgeons and surgical residents listen to music in the OR, with the majority (89 percent) preferring playlists over albums. Almost one-third (31 percent) of these doctors have more than five playlists on rotation.


    Doctors surveyed reported that music relaxes and calms them in the OR, helps improve mood and focus, and breaks tension when there are quiet moments.

    One surgeon stated, “It calms the nerves and improves staff morale.” Another added, “At times it keeps the room mellow and coordinated, and at other times it keeps the pace up.”

    Musical selections in the OR are not just up to the medical team: Many surgeons also reported that they take requests. If the patient is awake, they have a say in the soundtrack.

    One doctor shared, “We do C-sections where the patients are awake. If they have a preference we go with what they want. If not, we have fun with it and play name that tune from old TV shows, old songs, etc.”

    Led Zeppelin

    Alan Benvenisty, an New York City-based vascular and transplant surgeon at Mount Sinai Health System, is known to play rock during his operations.

    “People’s lives are in my hands and listening to rock puts me in a comfortable place so my full attention is on my patients,” he said. “I listen to bands from my youth and the feeling of nostalgia brings me to a calm, focused place.”

    Rock is also popular for medical professionals whose jobs are focused on putting patients to sleep during operations. Anaesthesiologists, anaesthesiology residents and certified nurse anaesthetists report listening to rock (44 percent) when working, with only pop music (59 percent) edging out the genre for these sleep-specialists.

    Of course, safety is always paramount. Survey participants reported that music is turned down during critical points in the surgery and when there are complications.


    Based on these information, Spotify has put together the “Surgeons Soundtrack,” comprised of “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by the Scorpions which is the number one choice, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses, “Just What The Doctor Ordered” by Ted Nugent, “Break On Through” by The Doors, “Paint It, Black” by The Rolling Stones, “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin, “We Will Rock You (Remastered 2011)” by the Queen, “Back In Black” by AC/DC, “Cocaine” by Eric Clapton and “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix.

    Television’s most popular series on surgeons, “Grey’s Anatomy,” has always been known to churn out a wide-ranging soundtrack for each episode since premiering in March 2005. Rock has placed prominently in the production’s music choice through the last 13 seasons. Season 14 premieres on September 28. Expectedly, the choices of real surgeons in the Spotify survey will come alive as the characters of Ellen Pompeo (Meredith), Justin Chambers (Alex), Kevin McKidd (Owen), Jessie Williams (Jackson) among others, go about their rock star moves in the OR.


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