It’s starting to look like blood and guts are a good thing in video games, as a bit of preliminary research seems to show that surgeons who play the motion controlled Nintendo Wii are considerably better at performing tasks on a surgical simulator.
So they bought a standard golf-club add on for the Wii (“It was like 10 bucks,” Kahol said [Kanav Kahol, one of the study authors, a biomedical informatics expert affiliated with Arizona State and a hospital chain called Banner Health –ed.]) then cut off most of the golf club and added a laparoscopic probe (their creation is shown in the picture, above).
Out of a group of 16 residents, eight were assigned to play the Wii (Marble Mania and a suite of games called Wii Play), with the specially-rigged controller. The other eight didn’t get to play. Then all 16 did a simulated laparoscopic procedure (something having to do with a simulated gallbladder).
The ones who had played the Wii showed 48% more improvement on the procedure than those who hadn’t, according to a standard score that measures performance on the simulation, Kahol said. They plan to present the results at the Medicine Meets Virtual Reality conference in a couple weeks.
Next, Kahol and Smith [Marshall Smith, a Banner Health surgeon -ed] plan to develop a full-blown surgery simulator for the Wii. Among other things, it would allow residents, forced by work-hour caps to spend more time outside the hospital, to practice surgery while they’re at home.
More at the Wall Street Journal Health Blog…