Friday, August 02, 2013

Video Games Enhance Surgical Spatial Relations Skills

If you've ever taken the controls of a surgical training simulator, and tried to perform even the most basic procedure on your first attempt, you're aware that it's a little more complicated than that. In addition to an understanding of the controls and tools at your disposal, you also need a high level of hand-eye coordination plus a good feel for the spatial relationships between objects in the virtual environment. The same can be said for many popular video games these days, many of which come with interactive tutorials and detailed instructions manuals. As the similarities between training simulator and video game technology and methodology continue to interweave with each other, it should come as no surprise that there is cross-over when it comes to the skills learned in one discipline being applied to the other.

A study conducted by the Department of Surgical Sciences at Sapienza University in Italy, titled: "Play to Become a Surgeon: Impact of Nintendo WII Training on Laparoscopic Skills", studied the influence of four weeks of structured Nintendo WII by a group of residents in General, Vascular and Endoscopic Surgery. Half the group received WII training, while the other half did not. All of the participants hand-eye coordination and spatial relations skills were measured on laparoscopic simulators over the course of the study. At the conclusion of the study, those given WII training showed significant improvement in 13 of the 16 performance metrics that were analyzed.

Laparoscopic Training Simulator
Laparoscopic Training Simulator
While the study stops short of concluding that institutions include video games in their curriculum, it does advocate for the development of dedicated software aimed at young surgeons. The skills developed while playing video games and operating simulators will provide them with a tremendous advantage in the development of the skills required to master today's surgical procedures. Surgical training simulators provide many benefits to Sales and Marketing departments in addition to the skills that surgeons learn from them. A company that can demonstrate their tool virtually has an advantage over a competitor that can only demonstrate their product during an actual surgical procedure.

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