Can video games hone surgical skills?
If you’re worried about your child’s video game-playing habits, here’s something to consider: You could have a future surgeon on your hands. An Italian study found that surgical residents who played certain games performed a difficult surgery more accurately.
For the study, a group of surgical residents played Nintendo Wii for an hour a day, five days a week, for four weeks. All of the games they were given to play required strong hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional visualization of space. A control group of surgeons were not asked to play any video games.
After the four weeks, all of the surgeons performed a simulated laparoscopic surgery – a surgical technique that involves inserting a tiny camera and instruments into small incisions in the body. The technique allows surgeons to use a video monitor to see inside the body rather than make large incisions that result in significantly more recovery time for the patient.
The surgeons who had been playing video games for four weeks performed the laparoscopic surgery much more accurately than the surgeon who did not play video games, according to the study. Research authors say the results could open doors to using video games as a low-cost way to supplement surgical training.