Veterinary Basic Surgical Skills (VBSS)

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About the course

The course is inspired by the BSS Intercollegiate course offered and accredited by the four Royal Surgical Colleges (RCPSG, RCSEd, RCSEng, RCSI) of the UK - a course which all human surgeon trainees are obliged to attend and complete as part of their formal surgical training.

Over two highly practical days, you will learn a range of essential basic surgical skills and techniques within a controlled learning environment. You will be taught to perform these skills in ways that are effective and safe.

This residential course includes one nights accommodation at the on-site Orchard Hotel, a three course evening meal and breakfast on day two. Entry to the David Ross Sports Village is also included, as are all refreshments and lunches.

You will participate in a variety of practical training sessions during the BSS course, including:

  • Safe handling of surgical instruments
  • Laying and tying of safe surgical knots
  • Tissue handling practice; skin, bowel, tendon and bone
  • Safe ligation of a vascular pedicle (e.g. ovarian pedicle)
  • Orthopaedic instrumentation including depth gauges, drill guides, power tools etc.
  • Orthopaedic implants including plates and screws, K-wires and orthopaedic wire
  • Principles of internal fixation including use of screws (i.e. lag, positional and plate) and the use of plates (e.g. compression, neutralisation and buttress) 

After attending this course, you should have gained core skills in both soft tissue and orthopaedic open surgery. You should be able to:

  • Demonstrate safe operating techniques
  • Use a variety of surgical knots safely and effectively
  • Confidently handle and use surgical instruments
  • Understand that careful and sound aspects of technique are more important than simple manual dexterity or speed
  • Handle tissues confidently with due regard to their unique properties and differing requirements (e.g. skin, bone, bowel, abdominal wall, vessels and tendons)
  • Understand the importance of pre-operative planning in orthopaedic surgery especially internal fixation
  • Know the basic principles for safe and effective application of screws and plates for internal fixation of fractures

This course is suitable for all veterinary surgeons anticipating a career in surgery and those contemplating or currently undertaking advanced veterinary surgical training. This includes individuals at the start of their surgical careers and those undertaking one of the currently available certificate level surgical qualifications.



  • Professor Rob White
  • Gareth Arthurs



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