The Effect of Perioperative Music on Medication Requirement and Hospital Length of Stay: A Meta-analysis

Ann Surg. 2020 Dec;272(6):961-972. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0000000000003506.


Objective: To assess and quantify the effect of perioperative music on medication requirement, length of stay and costs in adult surgical patients.

Summary background data: There is an increasing interest in nonpharmacological interventions to decrease opioid analgesics use, as they have significant adverse effects and opioid prescription rates have reached epidemic proportions. Previous studies have reported beneficial outcomes of perioperative music.

Methods: A systematic literature search of 8 databases was performed from inception date to January 7, 2019. Randomized controlled trials investigating the effect of perioperative music on medication requirement, length of stay or costs in adult surgical patients were eligible. Meta-analysis was performed using random effect models, pooled standardized mean differences (SMD) were calculated with 95% confidence intervals (CI). This study was registered with PROSPERO (CRD42018093140) and adhered to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis guidelines.

Results: The literature search yielded 2414 articles, 55 studies (N = 4968 patients) were included. Perioperative music significantly reduced postoperative opioid requirement (pooled SMD -0.31 [95% CI -0.45 to -0.16], P < 0.001, I = 44.3, N = 1398). Perioperative music also significantly reduced intraoperative propofol (pooled SMD -0.72 [95% CI -1.01 to -0.43], P < 0.00001, I = 61.1, N = 554) and midazolam requirement (pooled SMD -1.07 [95% CI -1.70 to -0.44], P < 0.001, I = 73.1, N = 184), while achieving the same sedation level. No significant reduction in length of stay (pooled SMD -0.18 [95% CI -0.43 to 0.067], P = 0.15, I = 56.0, N = 600) was observed.

Conclusions: Perioperative music can reduce opioid and sedative medication requirement, potentially improving patient outcome and reducing medical costs as higher opioid dosage is associated with an increased risk of adverse events and chronic opioid abuse.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data*
  • Music Therapy*
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Perioperative Period
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives