Video Games and Surgery

Video Games and Surgery

James Morrissey

What do you associate video games with? Many think childhood obesity, poor school performance, and even violence. Imagine if I told you they are being used to save lives. Currently video games are being used in the training of surgical residents. According to, video games display reductions in reaction times and increased player self-esteem.

To gain experience, and simulate performing laparoscopic, robotic surgeries, and image-guided clinical procedures, surgeons are using interfaces and platforms similar to those in video games that operate by utilizing a joystick and buttons. Practice makes perfect, and will increase hand-eye coordination, which strengthens surgical skills.

According to, people who played video games for more than 3 hours per week, resulted in 37% fewer errors, they also had a 27% faster completion rate performing laparoscopic surgery. Time and error scores showed to be reduced by 33% for participants who played video games. Surgeons did even better: 42% if they played in excess of 3 hours per week. These results show that video game users did directly better than tested no video games users.

BBC News shared an article where they talked to a video game users.  Saied Froghi, a trainee surgeon, played video games such as Age of Empires and Halo in his spare time during medical school. He went on to say, “if you take the example of keyhole surgery, your eyes focus on a screen and your hands move synchronously with what you are doing.  That’s a similar scenario to when you are playing football with a games console. Your hands know where the buttons are and how to rotate the instrument.”

BBC also talked to Rajin Chowdhury, an expert  in anesthetic and intensive care at Sheffield Teaching Hospital. He stated, “it improved hand-eye coordination, and many procedures are performed remotely through looking at a screen.” Chowdhury continued, “for example, in an appendectomy, because of the way the camera is inserted in the abdomen, when you move it down [in the body] you move it up on the image. When I want to move right you have to move it left. You can read more on the BBC website here.