Serious game as 'warm-up' training for laparoscopic surgery

Wednesday 17 December 2014

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Surgeons can use a special video game developed by Cutting Edge * as 'warm-up' for a laparoscopic surgery; surgeons who played fifteen minutes with the game made fewer errors on a number of existing surgical tests. This is evident from the thesis of Martin Jalink of the University Medical Center Groningen. His study also shows that those who are good at laparoscopy, also are good at the game and vice versa. Jalink PhD on 17 December at the University of Groningen.

In his thesis Jalink examined the effect of playing video games on a person's specific laparoscopic skills. Laparoscopy is a type of surgery where the surgeon inserts a camera into the abdominal cavity through a small incision in the abdominal wall. Through a number of other small incisions are long instruments, such as graspers and scissors, also introduced into the abdominal cavity to thereby a (ever increasing) number of operations to be carried out. Benefits include snees smaller and shorter hospital stay. The technique requires the surgeon to other basic skills.

Upcoming surgeons find exercise with computer simulators to improve their laparoscopic skills, often boring and monotonous. To them in a fun, inexpensive and attractive way to get more exercise their basic skills, Cutting Edge has developed a special video game called Underground. Jalink examined whether this game was a good training for laparoscopic movements had a positive effect on a person's skills.

From his studies showed that, first of all, the game sufficiently similar to the movements with laparoscopic instruments, and therefore well is to be used for the training of these skills. He further showed that someone who has good laparoscopic skills, the game is clearly better. The converse was also found to be the case.
In his research Jalink looked also whether it is useful for surgeons to do the videogame as 'warm up'. This was found to be the case; surgeons did some standard tests faster and with fewer errors after they first fifteen minutes had played the game. It Jalink deduces that experts in the field of laparoscopic surgery can actually benefit from a warm up to the game Underground.

Jalink calls for more research into the long-term effect of training with serious games. 'That may be clear whether the game can also be used in training for other surgical techniques. Use the games as an assessment tool in training Jalink rejects: "Nobody wants to be rejected on the professional level, based on a low score or a game over screen.
Curriculum Vitae:

Martin Jalink MSc (Winschoten, 1988) studied Medicine at the University of Groningen. He did his research at the surgery department of the UMCG. The title of his thesis is: "Validation of a video game made for training laparoscopic skills. He currently works as a physician's assistant at the Academic Hospital Paramaribo, Suriname.

* Cutting Edge is a partnership between UMCG game developer Grendel Games and LIMIS (Leeuwarden Institute for Minimally Invasive Surgery); it was created specifically for the development of this game.

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