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Video game surgeons
Hey, they're not wasting time. They're honing their robotic surgery skills.
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Outliers: Want to be a surgeon? Make time for video games

By Modern Healthcare
Posted: November 17, 2012 - 12:01 am ET

Hey, moms and dads, want Junior or Princess to become a surgeon? Then perhaps you need to encourage them to play video games, along with hitting the books.

Indeed, the next crop of robotic surgeons may want to hone their craft playing video games, according to a study from University of Texas researchers. The study pitted high school- and college-age gamers against resident physicians in robotic surgery simulations. Surprisingly, the kids matched, and in some cases exceeded, the physicians on more than 20 surgical skills.

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The lead author of the study, Dr. Sami Kilic, said he was inspired to do the study when he saw his son, an avid video game player, mess around with a robotic surgery simulator at a medical convention. “With no formal training, he was immediately at ease with the technology and the type of movements required to operate the robot,” Kilic said in a news release.

The study indicated that two hours of video games a day was the ideal amount of time to improve visual-spatial experience and hand-eye coordination, and Kilic suggested that could be the amount of time needed for medical residents to improve their skills. Depending on their disposition, medical students will either see this as great news or just another addition to their immense course load.

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