New research suggests that there's a correlation between how well surgeons perform on patients and whether they play videogames.

In a study at Beth Israel medical centre in New York and published in the Archives of Surgery, researchers found that doctors who played videogames regularly performed better at laparoscopic, or keyhole, surgery.

These doctors were younger and less experienced that the surgeons who performed less well in the tests.

The junior doctors who spent a minimum of three hours a week playing videogames made 37% fewer errors, were 27% faster, and scored 42% better than their more senior colleagues who never play videogames.

Their surgery skills were tested with two different laparoscopy practice drills that require surgeons to use a TV screen to operate.

Twenty-one junior doctors and 12 senior doctors that averaged 13 years of experience took part in the study.

Overall, 42% of those tested had never played a video game, while 30% had played almost every day at some stage in their lives.

The surgeons were also assessed on their videogame playing skills, and were required to play three games for 25 minutes.

Those who performed the best at gaming made almost 50% fewer errors, performed almost 40% faster, and scored 41% better than those who played the worst games.

The researchers cautioned that this study should not be blown out of proportion by the media and should not encourage parents to allow children to spend hours on end playing videogames.