Playing video games has a positive effect on laparoscopic surgeons and could be used as a teaching aid, a report says.

The findings were reported by medical journal, Archives of Surgery. The report drew on a study involving 33 physicians from Beth Israel Medical Centre that participated in the Rosser Top Gun Laparoscopic Skills and Suturing Program (Top Gun). They completed three different video game exercises which were chosen based on their perceived correlation with laparoscopic skills.

The participants then filled out a survey, assessing elements such as their past experience of video games and current level of play. Conclusions were made by comparing the participants’ video game scores, their experience of video game playing and their laparoscopic skills.

Those that played video games for more than three hours a week made 37 percent fewer errors and had 27 percent faster completion times. The overall scores of the surgical skills test were 33 percent better for those who normally played video games and 42 percent better if they played for more than three hours a week. The study also found that dopamine, which is released during game play, helps to establish learning pathways.

The research concludes that video game skill correlates with laparoscopic surgical skills and that this could be an effective training tool for surgeons. It also found there to be many advantages of using video games in surgical training, including its cost effectiveness and wide availability.