Play some video games.
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.