Scientists have given trainee surgeons a new way to perform better operations - Nintendo Wii games.
The research team at the Banner Medical Center, Arizona, has revealed that playing Nintendo Wii games helps student surgeons perform better at surgeries.
For the study, the researchers asked eight surgical residents to play games on a Wii for an hour before their performed virtual surgery using a training tool called ProMIS, which simulates a patient's body in 3D and tracks the surgeon's movements as they operate.
Those who warmed up using the console scored 48 per cent better for tool control and performance than those who did not.
Certain games, such as Marble Mania, in which players guide a marble through a 3D obstacle course, were found to be particularly good because they involved small, precise movements of the controller.
"The whole point about surgery is to execute small, finely controlled movements with your hands, and that is exactly what you get playing," New Scientist quoted study leader Dr Kanav Kohel, as saying.
Impressed with the results, the team is now designing software that will allow doctors to carry out simulated surgery using the console's novel control system.
The motion sensors in the wireless "Wiimote", a controller the size and shape of a television remote control, permit game players to direct on-screen action by waving it about and pointing it at the screen.
The researchers believe the software could help surgeons improve their skills by practicing at home, and play a significant role in the medical education in the poor countries where there is less access to expensive training tools.