WTF Fun Fact 13066 – Video Games and Surgeons

Surgeons who play video games for at least a few hours a week make fewer errors during surgery. This specifically relates to non-invasive and very precise laparoscopic surgery.

Surgeons who play video games

In an article titled The Impact of Video Games on Training Surgeons in the 21st Century (cited below), researchers from Beth Israel Medical Center, New York University Medical Center, Montefiore Medical Center, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Iowa State University, and Virginia Commonwealth University found that video games are correlated with better surgical outcomes.

According to the authors:

“Past video game play in excess of 3 h/wk correlated with 37% fewer errors…and 27% faster completion…Current video game players made 32% fewer errors…performed 24% faster…and scored 26% better overall…than their nonplaying colleagues…Regression analysis also indicated that video game skill and past video game experience are significant predictors of demonstrated laparoscopic skills.”

Videos games for surgical success

The researchers set out to measure the relationship between “laparoscopic skills and suturing capability, video game scores, and video game experience.”

Because they found a correlation between video game skills and positive laparoscopic surgical skills, the researchers suggest that medical training curricula might video games in the future. But this applied to surgery that didn’t require a large incision. Instead, laparoscopic surgery uses a small incision or hole and is largely computer-guided. It’s a more popular kind of surgery because there are typically fewer risks involved for the patient and less down-time.

While the authors acknowledged the drawbacks of playing video games excessively (such as poor grades and possible heightened aggressiveness), they also highlighted the benefits.

More specifically:

“Disturbing negative correlations with video game play include lower grades in school; aggressive thoughts, emotions, and actions (including physical fights); and decreasing positive prosocial behaviors. Excessive game playing has also been linked to childhood obesity, muscular and skeletal disorders, and even epileptic seizures. Other physical findings have included increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones (norepinephrine and epinephrine)… However, positive benefits of video game play include increased performance on eye-hand coordination tasks and neuropsychological tests and better reaction time, spatial visualization, and mental rotation.”

The benefits of gaming

The authors cited other studies that found correlations between playing video games and the ability of gamers to process visual information, improve their spacial awareness skills, and develop better visual attention processing.

These are all crucial skills for surgeons.  WTF fun facts

Source: “The Impact of Video Games on Training Surgeons in the 21st Century” — JAMA Surgery

Advertisements

Share this fact:  


Leave a Comment