Surgeons who play video games more skilled: study

All those years on the couch playing Nintendo and PlayStation appear to be paying off for surgeons.

Researchers found that doctors who spent at least three hours a week playing video games made about 37

percent fewer mistakes in laparoscopic surgery and performed the task 27 percent faster than their

counterparts who did not play video games.

“I use the same hand-eye coordination to play video games as I use for surgery,” said Dr. James “Butch”

Rosser, 49, who demonstrated the results of his study Tuesday at Beth Israel Medical Center.

International Reports Claim That Video Gamers Will Make For Better Surgeons

Laparoscopic surgery  using a tiny camera and instruments controlled by joysticks outside the

body — is performed on just about any part of the body, from an appendix to the colon and gall bladder.

The minimally intrusive surgery involves making tiny keyhole incisions, inserting a mini-video camera

that sends images to an external video screen, with the surgical tools remote-controlled by the surgeon

watching the screen. Surgeons can now practice their techniques through video simulations.

Surgeons who play video games at least 3 hours a week perform 27% -faster

and make 37% -fewer errors:

Rosser said the skill needed for laparoscopic surgery is “like tying your shoelaces with 3-foot-long


“Yes, here we go!” said Rosser, sitting in front of a Super Monkey Ball game, which shoots a ball into a confined

goal. “This is a nice, wholesome game. No blood and guts. But I need the same kind of skill to go into a

body and sew two pieces of intestine together.”

The study on whether good video game skills translate into surgical prowess was done by researchers with

Beth Israel and the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa State University. It was based on

testing 33

fellow doctors — 12 attending physicians and 21 medical school residents who participated from

May to August 2003.

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