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Surgeon Uses Video Games to Sharpen Laparoscopic Skills

February 05, 2014

Meet the surgeon who established the world's first video game warm up suite for surgeons. James "Butch" Rosser, MD, has found through his research that surgeons who play video games are more efficient and make fewer mistakes in minimally invasive surgery.

The cover to Super Monkey Ball

Super Monkey Ball is a vintage video game that is still putting players' fine motor skills, visual acuity, and agility to the test. Players navigate a monkey within a ball through mazes and around obstacles to make it to the finish line. Go too fast, and the monkey flies past the finish line right off the course. Go too slow, and it might not have enough momentum to make it up a hill. 

Disaster usually follows.

The game, which was released in 2001, is played on a Nintendo GameCube and requires precise movements and keen reflexes. And it's more than amusing entertainment— it's a legitimate tool being used by surgeons to prepare for the OR. So is Nintendo's Wii Golf. 

James "Butch" Rosser, MD, FACS, is a surgeon at Florida Hospital Celebration Health who specializes in minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. Rosser, 59, has worked on studies that have found that surgeons who warm up by playing video games, are more efficient and make fewer mistakes.

The genesis of Rosser's studies come from a deep love of pop culture.  Inspired by TV shows such as Star Trek and Ben Casey, and from a strong passion for comic books, Rosser has been motivated to use these pop culture icons for the greater good.

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