A lot of people like to listen to music when they do their job. Some people say it would be distracting, but those who do it might feel it helps them focus. During surgery, distractions could lead to huge, life-altering mistakes. But new research has shown that plastic surgeons perform much better when they listen to their preferred music during an operation.

A new study from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston showed that when plastic surgeons listen to music that they prefer, their technique and overall efficiency shows an improvement. This allows for surgeons and patients to spend less time under the knife in the operating room.

"Spending less time in the operating room can translate into significant cost reductions, particularly when incision closure is a large portion of the procedure, such as in a tummy tuck,"said author Dr. Shelby Lies, the UTMB chief plastic surgery resident. "Longer duration under general anesthesia is also linked with increased risk of adverse events for the patient."

For the study, researchers took 15 plastic surgery residents and had them close incisions with layered stitches on pigs feet, which most scientific communities agree closely resemble human skin. The residents weren’t told the purpose of their stitching.

The researchers had the residents do two closures: The first day saw a randomly selected group of residents working in silence, while the remaining residents worked with music. For the second day, the residents repeated the closure, but the researchers again randomly chose which residents worked with music and which did not. This reduced the effect that repetition had on the overall work of the residents.

The residents who listened to their preferred music showed a repair completion time that was seven percent shorter than their average time without music. The experience of the surgeon also factored in: The senior surgeons showed a 10 percent reduction in closing time when they listened to their music, while junior surgeons showed an eight percent reduction in closure time.

Afterward, a panel of different surgeons were shown the closures of both days for each resident, unaware of whose work belong to who. The judges confirmed that the closures completed with the music playing were of a higher quality than the closures that were done without music, regardless of what day the closures were done.

"Our study confirmed that listening to the surgeon's preferred music improves efficiency and quality of wound closure, which may translate to health care cost savings and better patient outcomes," said author Dr. Andrew Zhang, UTMB assistant professor of surgery in the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Source: Shelby R. Lies, Andrew Y. Zhang. Prospective Randomized Study of the Effect of Music on the Efficiency of Surgical Closures. Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 2015