Another use of the mobile device: Warm-up for laparoscopic surgery

Timothy A. Plerhoples, Yulia Zak, Tina Hernandez-Boussard, James Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: An important facet of laparoscopic surgery is its psychomotor component. As this aspect of surgery gains attention, lessons from other psychomotor-intense fields such as athletics have led to an investigation of the benefits of "warming up" prior to entering the operating room. Practical implementation of established methods of warm-up is hampered by a reliance on special equipment and instrumentations that are not readily available. In light of emerging evidence of translatability between video-game play and operative performance, we sought to find if laparoscopic task performance improved after warming up on a mobile device balance game. Materials and Methods: Laparoscopic novices were randomized into either the intervention group (n = 20) or the control group (n = 20). The intervention group played a mobile device balance game for 10 min while the control group did no warm-up whatsoever. Assessment was performed using two tasks on the ProMIS laparoscopic simulation system: "object positioning" (where small beads are transferred between four cups) and "tissue manipulation" (where pieces of plastic are stretched over pegs). Metrics measured were time to task completion, path length, smoothness, hand dominance, and errors. Results: The intervention group made fewer errors: object positioning task 0.20 versus 0.70, P = 0.01, tissue manipulation task 0.15 versus 0.55, P = 0.05, total errors 0.35 versus 1.25, P = 0.002. The two groups performed similarly on the other metrics. Conclusions: Warm-up using a mobile device balance game decreases errors on basic tasks performed on a laparoscopic surgery simulator, suggesting a practical way to warm-up prior to cases in the operating room.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-188
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • clinical competence
  • computer simulation
  • laparoscopy
  • surgical education
  • surgical skills
  • technology
  • video games


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