Video games and surgical ability: a literature review

J Surg Educ. May-Jun 2010;67(3):184-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsurg.2010.02.010.


Objective: Surgical training is rapidly evolving because of reduced training hours and the reduction of training opportunities due to patient safety concerns. There is a popular conception that video game usage might be linked to improved operating ability especially those techniques involving endoscopic modalities. If true this might suggest future directions for training.

Methods: A search was made of the MEDLINE databases for the MeSH term, "Video Games," combined with the terms "Surgical Procedures, Operative," "Endoscopy," "Robotics," "Education," "Learning," "Simulators," "Computer Simulation," "Psychomotor Performance," and "Surgery, Computer-Assisted,"encompassing all journal articles before November 2009. References of articles were searched for further studies.

Results: Twelve relevant journal articles were discovered. Video game usage has been studied in relationship to laparoscopic, gastrointestinal endoscopic, endovascular, and robotic surgery.

Conclusions: Video game users acquire endoscopic but not robotic techniques quicker, and training on video games appears to improve performance.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Endoscopy*
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
  • General Surgery / education*
  • General Surgery / standards
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency / standards
  • Laparoscopy
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Robotics*
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / standards*
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / standards
  • Video Games* / psychology