Skip to content

Health & Parenting

Video Games May Boost Surgeons' Skill

Surgeons Who Play Video Games May Be Better at Video-Assisted Surgery
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 21, 2007 -- Playing video games may make for sharper surgeons, a new study shows.

The study shows that surgeons who have a history of playing video games for more than three hours per week may be faster and more accurate in certain video-assisted surgery training tests than surgeons who have never played video games.

"These were surprising results," says Iowa State University's Douglas Gentile, PhD, in a news release.

Gentile and colleagues conducted the study, which appears in the Archives of Surgery.

The study doesn't support overindulging in video games.

"Parents should not see this study as beneficial if their child is playing video games for over an hour a day," Gentile says. "Spending that much time playing video games is not going to help their child's chances of getting into medical school."

Surgery Study

Gentile's team studied 33 surgeons, including 21 surgical residents, who are relatively new doctors getting postgraduate training.

The surgeons attended a 1.5-day workshop in laparoscopic surgery, which uses video technology to help doctors operate through a small incision.

The surgeons weren't total novices at laparoscopic surgery. The residents had done an average of 46 laparoscopic surgeries, compared with an average of 236 laparoscopic surgeries done by the more experienced doctors.

The surgeons completed questionnaires about their video game use.

More than half of the surgeons -- 58% -- reported playing video games at some point in their lives. They had played for nearly eight years, on average.

Among the video game players, nearly half reported playing video games for at least three hours weekly at the height of their game-playing days.

Players' Prowess

During the laparoscopy workshop, the surgeons took various tests (none of which involved patients) to gauge their laparoscopy surgery speed and accuracy.

The surgeons with a history of playing video games for more than three hours per week were the fastest and most accurate on the laparoscopy surgery tests.

Those doctors "made 37% fewer errors, were 27% faster, and scored 42% better overall than surgeons who never played video games," write the researchers.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow