Researchers at University of Rome have found a surprise use for Nintendo Wii - sharpening a doctor's surgical skills.
The researchers have found that playing on Wii one hour everyday for four weeks not only improved the speed at which a surgeon conducted a keyhole operation but also improved the accuracy of the procedure by almost 65 percent compared to a doctor who undertook conventional training.
The researchers conducted the study on a group of 42 resident surgeons whose surgical skills were tested prior to the start of the study. Half of the participants trained on Wii by playing three different games, Wii Sports Tennis, Wii Table Tennis and Battle, while the other half did not play any games.
At the end of four weeks, the participants were asked to perform a keyhole surgery on a virtual patient who needed the gall bladder to be removed. The researchers found that while participants from both the groups showed improved skills, those who played on Wii displayed significant improvement in a number of areas compared to those who did not play the videogames.
"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 might be helpful, inexpensive and entertaining part of the training of young laparoscopists, in addition to a standard surgical education based on simulators and the operating room", the researchers wrote in their report.