According to a report in the February issue of Archives of Surgery, video- game skill was correlated with laparoscopic surgery skill as assessed during a simulated surgery skills course.

“Training curricula that include video games may help thin the technical interface between surgeons and screen-mediated applications, such as laparoscopic surgery,” say the authors. “Video games may be a practical teaching tool to help train surgeons.”

James C. Rosser Jr, MD, of Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City, and his colleagues asked 33 surgeons about their video game–playing habits, then assessed their performance at the Rosser Top Gun Laparoscopic Skills and Suturing Program, a 1 1/2 day course that scores surgeons on time and errors during simulated surgery drills.  During the study, the surgeons also played three video games for 25 minutes while the researchers assessed their gaming skills.

Of the surgeons who participated in the study, 15 reported never playing video games, nine reported playing less than 3 hours per week, and nine reported playing more than 3 hours per week.

The results found that surgeons who had played video games in the past for more than 3 hours per week made 37% fewer errors in the Top Gun course, were 27% faster, and scored 42% better overall than surgeons who never played video games. Current video-game players made 32% fewer errors, were 24% faster and scored 26% better overall than their nonplayer colleagues. Those in the top third of video-gaming skill made 47% fewer errors, performed 39% faster, and scored 41% better on the overall Top Gun score than those in the bottom third.

[www.newswise.com, February 15, 2007]