Guy's Hospital Operating Theatre
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Songs for surgery - how music is chosen for operations

From classical music to create a calm atmosphere, to pop tracks which help surgeons with the timing of operations - music is used in many operating theatres.

Studies have shown that surgeons perform best when they are familiar with the piece of music and that it can assist with concentration and dexterity.

John Black, President of the Royal College of Surgeons said: "Many surgeons, including myself, use background music in the operating theatre to create a calmer atmosphere, which conscious patients invariably appreciate."

However, all agree some tracks may not be suitable and volume is very important - it must not hinder communication between staff or drown out noise from the monitors. If a difficulty did occur, the music would be switched off, signalling a change in developments and a need for extra focus.

Three different members of the surgical staff at Guy's Hospital, London, spoke to BBC News about using background music in theatre.

  • 04 Nov 2010