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Surgeon Uses Video Games to Sharpen Laparoscopic Skills

February 05, 2014

In the 1970s, when Pong became a massive hit, Rosser grew fascinated by the technology that allowed him to play table tennis on a television screen, while engaging in the activity in a physical manner. What Rosser didn't know was that he was starting to develop skills that he would use later in his career.

James "Butch" Rosser, MD, FACS

Once the early 90s came along, and laparoscopic surgery started to make its way into the mainstream, Rosser started to make some connections between the surgical technology and the games he had been enjoying. Rosser wondered if the games may have something to do with his skill at the surgery.

"I never knew why I was good at this type of surgery," said Rosser. "People would say 'Oh my god, we've seen a lot of people do this. You're a natural.' So in the back of my mind I thought, 'Is it true? Am I better at this because of my video game capability?'"   

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When Rosser went to work at Yale University, he decided to test out his hunch. Working in Yale's invasive program in laparoscopy, he started training programs to see if video games could make a surgeon more efficient in minimally invasive surgery.

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