updated 2/28/2013 5:50:17 PM ET 2013-02-28T22:50:17

Few people would ever want their doctors to treat a surgical procedure like a game, but a new study shows that surgeons who play on the Nintendo Wii may actually perform better in the OR.

That's right. According to research aimed at improving the training regimen for surgeons who perform laparoscopic procedures, playing Nintendo Wii has a positive effect on hand-eye coordination and spatial attention.

The study examined the effect on post-graduate residents of playing Wii games during their four-week training in laparoscopy techniques. Dr. Gregorio Patrizi and his colleagues at the University of Rome Medical School published the research Feb. 27 in the scientific journal  PLOS ONE.

For the control, researchers assigned half of the students in the study to a group that did not train on the Wii. Although both groups showed improved skills after training in the medical procedure, those who had also trained on the Wii "showed a significant improvement over the other group," a statement said.

Participants played three games — tennis, table tennis and an airplane battle, dog-fighting game — for one hour, five days each week. [See also: A Wii U Beginners Guide ]

While the researchers said they don't necessarily think hospitals should install Wiis in every break room, they hope their research will spur the development of "dedicated software aimed to help young surgeons" improve their skills more quickly.

The Wii "might be [a] helpful, inexpensive and entertaining part of the training of young laparoscopists, in addition to a standard surgical education based on simulators and the operating room," the study concluded.

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