Copyright 2001

[ August 11th 2001 ]

According to a leading Manhattan orthopedic surgeon, Core Designs intrepid British archeologist Lara Croft may inadvertently be training future surgeons, the Houston Chronicles reports today.

Dr Andrew Feldman attributes the skills of many advanced surgical techniques to video game dexterity, stating that younger players have become naturally adept at using a joystick and monitor, tools which have now become common instruments in today's operating theatres. "Surgery is becoming one big video game and they've got the skills" said Feldman, director of sports medicine at St. Vincent's Hospital.

Technology continues to push the envelope with computerized instruments gradually replacing conventional operating techniques and surgeons are now being forced to develop skills long associated with video-game dexterity. Dr. Wiles Nifong, a cardiac surgeon who teaches surgical robotics at East Carolina School of Medicine says: "those skills include good hand-eye coordination, fast reflexes and an ability to solve problems in a virtual-reality environment."

The increase in minimally evasive surgery techniques which involves fiber optic cameras and remote controlled instruments has dramatically reduced the recovery time of patients because incisions are that much smaller and there's a lower risk of infection. "We've coined a term for it," said Nifong, "we call it video dexterity".

Nifong can now train a class of 12-13 year-old students how to tie surgical knots within fifteen minutes while their older counterparts may well take in access of two hours to develop the same skills. "It's no big deal for kids," Nifong says, "they've basically been doing this kind of thing all their lives on games and computers. All those parents who tell their kids to get away from their Nintendo may want to think twice..."

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