Which music makes surgeons perform best?

Which music makes surgeons perform best?


norman lebrecht

August 04, 2015

Research from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston appears to demonstrate that surgeons perform better when there’s music playing in the background – provided it’s music they like.

Fifteen plastic surgeons were asked to close incisions on pigs’ feet on two successive days. When their preferred music was playing, the stitches were better and done significantly faster.

Reports on the study, however, do not indicate which genre of music works best.

UPDATE: Nurses disagree, here.

We know a former cardiac surgeon who only ever cracked open chests while Mozart’s D minor piano concerto (K466) was playing. And always the same interpretation.

Any further examples?

surgeons music
Photo: Matthew Brunwasser


  • Tom says:

    In the 1991 movie ‘The Doctor’, with William Hurt, it was Jimmy Buffet’s ‘Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw’.

  • Petros LInardos says:

    Ravel’s Bolero, during the first transplant of an artificial heart, in 1982.

    “Like some people who can appreciate music while performing a difficult task, Dr. William Castle DeVries had been known to listen occasionally to rock music while he performed surgery. And yesterday, in the operation in which he implanted the Jarvik-7 artificial heart in Barney B. Clark, the operating room was hushed, except for the voice communications of the medical team and the quietly played strains of Ravel’s ”Bolero.” ”