Nintendo Wii games can improve some aspects of surgery

LaparoscopyResearchers have found that the laparoscopic surgeons may show improved performance in some aspects of surgery by regularly playing Nintendo Wii.

This research has been published online in the journal PLoS ONE.

Laparoscopy is the examination of the internal organs of the abdomen.

Researchers in this study combined the two previous studies i.e. to improve the training of surgeons outside of the operating room and the effect of video-games on the hand-eye coordination and spatial attention.

They analyzed the impact of Nintendo® Wii on the laparoscopic skills of the 42 post-graduate residents in Italy in the first or second year of their surgical training. They divided the participants into two groups in which one group was given the Wii playing schedule with games such as Tennis and a 3D battle game an hour a day, five days a week for four weeks while the other group was not given this schedule. Then the performance of the participants was tested on a laparoscopic simulator.

Tennis on Wii

Researchers found that although the participants of both the groups performed well but the participants of the group who were asked to play Wii performed significantly well in some metrics such as economy of instrument movements and efficient cautery.

Dr. Gregorio Patrizi, who lead the research team, told NBC News in an email interview that he expected to see improvements but, “the differences in outcomes between the two groups were far beyond our expectations. What surprised us the most was that almost all the results were clearly statistically significant, even in complex procedures like virtual cholecystectomy,” which is used to remove the gallbladder.

“We hope this may be a trigger to develop dedicated software aimed to help young surgeons as the economic impact of these consoles is significantly lower than traditional laparoscopic simulators and they provide a basic didactic value. The Nintendo® Wii™ may be adopted in lower-budget Institutions or at home by younger surgeons to optimize their training on simulators before performing real procedures.” Researchers concluded.

“We already knew that people who are good at video games are more easily trainable at laparoscopic keyhole surgery,” Ben Challacombe, a consultant urologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in London who was not in the study, said in a telephone interview to Bloomberg. “What this has shown is that if you train using a computer game you get much better more quickly.”


Giannotti, D., Patrizi, G., Di Rocco, G., Vestri, A., Semproni, C., Fiengo, L., Pontone, S., Palazzini, G., & Redler, A. (2013). Play to Become a Surgeon: Impact of Nintendo WII Training on Laparoscopic Skills PLoS ONE, 8 (2) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057372

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