Plastic Surgery Soundtrack: What Doctors Listen to in the OR

K. Mathews on 23 Sep 2011 at 1:38pm

Rock out before you’re knocked out?  Dr. Anthony Youn recently wrote an article about the music he listens to while in the operating room, citing a study that found that music helps surgeons do their jobs better, as well help patients to relax more. 

The article made us curious as to what kind of music other RealSelf doctors listen to while enhancing their patients. Their varied responses were both humorous and insightful.

You might be surprised to know what goes on musically once you’re unconscious:

  • Dr. Donald Nunn keeps it simple: "Whatever the patient would like to hear."
  • However, Dr. Darryl Blinksi takes the opposite approach, allowing his staff to choose. "Need to keep them happy so they work faster and better!"
  • Meanwhile, Dr. Scott Newman allows his patients to select a Pandora station until they go under, at which point he makes a selection "because it needs to be relaxing for the surgeon!"
  • Whatever the music is, Dr. Richard Tholen makes sure it's soft, explaining that patients are sensitive to sound while drifting to sleep.
  • Multitalented Dr. Tim Abou-Sayed says, "I am a musician myself and compose and record original works, which I sometimes share with patients if they are interested."
  • When it comes to musical genres, Dr. Donald Brown begins his surgeries with classical music, but once the “intense” part is complete, he “ramps up the rock and roll.”
  • "I listen to opera," says Dr. George Beraka. "Another great surgeon in town listens to Country and Western."
  • As for specific artists, Dr. Steven Holzman lists his band preferences as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Goo Goo Dolls, U2, and REM. 
  • Dr. Eric Swanson has eclectic taste, enjoying not only reputable oldies like Billy Joel, the Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac, but also new artists including Lady Gaga, Adele, and Katy Perry.
  • "I have a personal preference for Tina Turner," says Dr. Gary Horndeski. "Everyone loves Tina Turner!" Everyone also loves her legs, too - I wonder if his patients have ever requested those before.
  • And finally, Dr. Wendell Perry, who prefers fast-paced music to help him perform liposuction more quickly, admits, “If I’m feeling really special, I sing.” Here’s hoping that he feels special quite often… and that his patients are unconscious!
Photo credit: via Flickr


Comments (5)

We did a similar post in August after the story broke and found some interesting responses with our doctors as well. What was most interesting was how the type of music they listened to varied depending on what procedure they were performing. It seemed as though the more aggressive upbeat music was associated with body and breast procedures, whereas the more calming music was used for things like facial surgery.
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Yeah that's what we found as well -- I have to say I don't much like the idea of a surgeon listening to hard rock while jabbing me with a liposuction cannula! :o

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My dad used to do general surgery and he told me he used to listen to show tunes if the other staff didn't mind -- I definitely know where I get my love of them!

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This is so fun to know!  I am RELIEVED no one listens to heavy metal in the O.R., and if they do I'm glad they didn't admit to it. :)


I say YES on the Tina Turner (she has hot legs) and Fleetwood Mac is a given.  Selecting Pandora is a great idea, I wonder how many patients choose my favorites: Chris Brown and Rhianna stations. 

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Love it!

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