Essential Surgical Skills and Principles for Aspiring Surgeons (ESSPAS)

Provided by

About the course


This one-day course is aimed at providing the attendee with an overview of the essential principles, core concepts and fundamental skills relevant for foundation years and early surgical training. The course predominantly comprises of hands-on training in surgical skills using animal tissue interspersed with structured and focused teaching on the principles of management of trauma and operative surgery. With a high tutor-to-delegate ratio, this course is designed to equip the attendee with the essential surgical skills that will be expected of a clinical year medical student or junior doctor in the operating theatre. There will also be discussions on the management of patients with trauma and those presenting with surgical emergencies. Delegates will have the opportunity to practise various skills on animal tissue.

  Topics Covered

  • Aseptic precautions in the operating theatre
  • Surgical gowning
  • Closed method of gloving
  • Secure knot tying:
    • Reef knot
    • Surgeon’s knot
    • Tying at depth
    • ‘Aberdeen knot’
  • Securing a wound drain
  • Handling of surgical instruments
  • Safe use and infiltration of local anaesthesia
  • Suture materials and needles
  • Basic suturing techniques:
    • Simple interrupted
    • Simple continuous
    • Subcuticular (intradermal)
    • Vertical mattress
    • Horizontal mattress
  • Deep dermal suturing
  • Purse-string suturing
  • Figure of ‘8’ haemostatic stitch
  • Excision of a cutaneous lesion
  • Suturing an elliptical incision
  • Excision of a subcutaneous cyst
  • Drainage of an abscess
  • Principles of repairing an extensor tendon
  • Principles of repairing a flexor tendon
  • Debridement of a contaminated wound
  • Wound healing and principles of reconstructive surgery
  • Basic flaps in plastic surgery

Learning Objectives

   At the end of the course, the delegate should:

  • have understood the importance of aseptic precautions in surgery.
  • be able to gown in a correct manner.
  • be able to carry out the closed method of gloving.
  • be able to tie a secure reef knot and surgeon’s knot.
  • be able to tie at depth and perform an ‘Aberdeen’ knot.
  • be able to handle surgical instruments correctly and dispose the sharps safely.
  • be able to institute local anaesthesia in a safe and efficient manner.
  • have gained an appreciation of the various suture materials and needles.
  • be able to perform the basic suturing techniques.
  • be able to secure a wound drain.
  • be able to perform a deep dermal and haemostatic stitch.
  • be able to excise a lesion and close the wound.
  • be able to excise a subcutaneous cyst and close the wound.
  • be able to drain an abscess and plan appropriate wound management.
  • be able to debride a contaminated wound in an effective manner.

Related article

Donna Cummins offers guidance for budding dermatology trainees looking for the right course or event to match their interests and stage of training