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J Endourol. 2005 Apr;19(3):372-6.

Can video games be used to predict or improve laparoscopic skills?

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 3471 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Performance of laparoscopic surgery requires adequate hand-eye coordination. Video games are an effective way to judge one's hand-eye coordination, and practicing these games may improve one's skills. Our goal was to see if there is a correlation between skill in video games and skill in laparoscopy. Also, we hoped to demonstrate that practicing video games can improve one's laparoscopic skills.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

Eleven medical students (nine male, two female) volunteered to participate. On day 1, each student played three commercially available video games (Top Spin, XSN Sports; Project Gotham Racing 2, Bizarre Creations; and Amped 2, XSN Sports) for 30 minutes on an X-box (Microsoft, Seattle, WA) and was judged both objectively and subjectively. Next, the students performed four laparoscopic tasks (object transfer, tracing a figure-of-eight, suture placement, and knot-tying) in a swine model and were assessed for time to complete the task, number of errors committed, and hand-eye coordination. The students were then randomized to control (group A) or "training" (i.e., video game practicing; group B) arms. Two weeks later, all students repeated the laparoscopic skills laboratory and were reassessed.

RESULTS:

Spearman correlation coefficients demonstrated a significant relation between many of the parameters, particularly time to complete each task and hand-eye coordination at the different games. There was a weaker association between video game performance and both laparoscopic errors committed and hand-eye coordination. Group B subjects did not improve significantly over those in group A in any measure (P >0.05 for all).

CONCLUSION:

Video game aptitude appears to predict the level of laparoscopic skill in the novice surgeon. In this study, practicing video games did not improve one's laparoscopic skill significantly, but a larger study with more practice time could prove games to be helpful.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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