DOCTORS WHO PLAY VIDEO GAMES BETTER AT SURGERY

Published on: May 18, 2004

Doctors who play video games make better surgeons!

An intriguing new study has found that physicians who spend three hours a week zapping aliens on Nintendo or racing cars on PlayStation make 37 percent fewer mistakes in the operating room doing laparoscopic surgery and work 27 percent quicker than non-video-gaming docs.

Experts say it makes sense that surgeons who have mastered the buttons and toggle switches of a video game console would do better at laparoscopic surgery because the devices are similar.

Laparoscopic surgery uses a tiny camera and instruments controlled by joysticks. Tiny incisions are made and the camera is inserted to guide the surgeon as he operates by remote control.

"I use the same hand-eye coordination to play video games as I use for surgery," said Dr. James Rosser, 49, author of the study, sponsored by New York's Beth Israel Medical Center.

In fact, doctors who want to practice their surgical technique can now rehearse on video simulators for everything ranging from appendectomies to gallbladder removal.