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Ask the Doc: What do you listen to during surgery?

Published February 2023 | In Winter 2023

Research has shown that listening to music can enhance focus, boost cognitive function and improve your mood. Here are some of the bands, genres and artists preferred by Monument Health surgeons.

Ask the Doc: What do you listen to during surgery?  Media

Joseph Tuma, M.D., FACC, FSCAI, Interventional Cardiologist

I have two rules for procedures, no country and no Christmas music! Usually I enjoy listening to 90s rap — Snoop Dogg, Tupac, etc.

Ray Jensen, D.O., Orthopedic Surgeon

Typically, I listen to classic or alternative rock. My favorites are Mumford and Sons and the Lumineers. 

Alice Police, M.D., FACS, Breast Surgeon

In the OR, I listen to whatever the hardworking nurses want to hear. They are so wonderful and I always let them pick, even if it is country music, which I dislike intensely.

Kyle Schmidt, M.D., Neurosurgeon

I prefer country music, old or new, I’m flexible. If it is a long case then I do Avicii Radio. 

Richard Little, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon

Simple. For me, it’s classic rock.

Saverio Barbera, M.D., FACC, FHRS, Cardiac Electrophysiologist

We listen to a little bit of everything! Mostly it’s going to be classic 70s rock or classic country. Sometimes we’ll throw in a little jazz or Frank Sinatra. Everybody gets a chance to pick the genre for the procedure. I really believe that listening to music enhances the experience overall. It improves mood and concentration.

Michelle Krohn, D.O., OB/GYN

We go around the room and let everybody have a chance to pick what we’re listening to — sort of like MTV’s Total Request Live!

Rachel Michael, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon

My playlist includes about 60 hours of music from all genres. We put it on shuffle for everyone in the OR to enjoy. This way, if someone doesn’t like a song, a new option in a new genre comes on in just a few minutes. It covers rock, rap, hip hop, international, broadway musical, classical, indie, Disney, top hits, country, metal, punk, Latin, blues, R&B, folk, jazz, EDM, disco, 1920s-2022 music... You name it, it’s on there. It helps keep everyone happy and allows for a fun day while we are all working hard for our patients. 

My playlist is public on Spotify, give it a listen! Just search OR Tunes.

Dan Lochmann, M.D., Orthopedic Surgeon 

When I’m in the OR, I’m usually listening to 80s and 90s rock. My favorite, though, are the Rolling Stones.

Katherine Croft, M.D., Gynecologic Oncologist

I don’t have a surgical playlist because we usually listen to Pandora in the operating room. When I was a trainee, the first thing I wanted to do as an attending was to get to play Metallica in my OR! Once this happened, I settled into classic rock, which is my go-to. In general, anything with an electric guitar makes me a pretty happy camper. I also listen to 90s alternative rock/grunge, 80s hair metal and 90s Hip Hop. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a little Taylor Swift or Lizzo. 

I listen to music that makes me happy and blends into the background while I am focusing on the surgery. I grew up listening to all of these songs, and peaceful background music keeps me calm in stressful situations that occasionally arise.

Bradley Anderson, M.D., FACS, Urologist

I have created two playlists for when I’m in the OR. I always let the scrub tech choose which one we’re going to listen to. The first, “Brad’s Killer Country” on Spotify. It’s 49 hours long. Or we go with my other Spotify playlist, “Brad’s Shamelessly Clichéd Pop,” which is 44 hours long. When those are on shuffle you hear something new each surgery. Both lists do have one thing in common, they are exclusively upbeat.

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