Friday, July 25, 2008
Medical Reports: Wii surgical training
The latest wave of video game technology is doing much more than keeping teenagers entertained. It's preparing doctors for the operating room. In today's Healthcast, Seven's Christine Cruz explains how the Nintendo Wii is working wonders for surgeons.
WSVN -- Surgical resident Jeff Henke is playing games in hopes of becoming a better surgeon.
Dr. Jeff Henke: "This isn't exactly what I pictured when I thought of medical school."
Those control sticks on the Nintendo Wii are actually probes, the same kind he'll use in the operating room.
Dr. Jeff Henke: "This does really help. It kind of coordinates your hand movements, gets you prepared to go into the operating room and perform laparoscopic surgery."
Doctors had to make a few adjustments to turn the Wii accessories into surgical tools.
Dr. Jeff Henke: "We took the golf club out and actually put this, a laparoscopic probe, on it."
Using these cyber gloves to record and measure hand movements, Bio-Informatics expert Dr. Kanav Kahol made a discovery, the coordination used to play the games is similar to what's needed in laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgery.
Simulators that train doctors for surgery often cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but a pilot study at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in phoenix found playing the specially adapted Wii, residents skills improved by 50 percent.
Dr. Mark Smith: "This gives us a much less costly way to train on these fine motor skills that the surgeons employ in surgery."
Jeff knows there's no restart button in real surgery, but, for now, he's sharpening his skills one game at a time.
Researchers say these computer games could give surgeons a way to improve their skills at home and could even provide surgeons in third world countries a less expensive way to become more proficient.