Course review

Plymouth practical arthroscopy course

Authors: Manav Bawa, Christoph McAllen 

Publication date:  03 Aug 2012

The Plymouth practical arthroscopy course is a two day hands-on course organised by the orthopaedic department in Derriford Hospital, Plymouth. It aims to teach basic arthroscopy skills to doctors in surgical training.

Who is it for?

This new course is designed for core surgical trainees with an interest in orthopaedics and for junior orthopaedic registrars who wish to improve their skills in arthroscopy.

How was it structured?

The first day was a “diagnostic day” and the second was a “therapeutic day.” On both days delegates rotated around a number of stations—two knee and two shoulder stations and a hip, an ankle, and a wrist station. Short group discussions were held regularly during the day.

What was covered?

The diagnostic day focused on basic arthroscopy skills, including familiarisation with endoscopies, basic manoeuvres, portal site entry, and instrument handling. We moved around each of the stations, worked on our basic arthroscopy skills, and performed diagnostic arthroscopies. The therapeutic day strengthened our diagnostic skills, and we learnt and practised procedures such as menisectomies, rotator cuff repairs, and removal of loose bodies.

How were participants assessed?

There was no formal objective assessment, but skills were continually assessed throughout the course by experienced arthroscopic surgeons. A subjective assessment done by delegates before and after the course showed universal improvement. All delegates were awarded a certificate of attendance and participation at the end of the course when faculty were happy with the delegates’ basic arthroscopic skills.

When did you do it?

During my core training year 2 in 2011.

Why did you do it?

To improve my skills in arthroscopy. I now have more confidence when performing diagnostic arthroscopies and basic procedures.

How much did it cost?

The fee was £200, which included a meal at a top restaurant on the first day. A buffet lunch was included on both days, and parking was free.

Was it worth it?

I would definitely recommend this course to all trainees at the appropriate level because it enhances basic arthroscopic skills and teaches basic procedural skills. It was superbly organised. The faculty comprised experienced arthroscopic consultants who were very helpful and approachable. The trainer to trainee ratio was excellent—on some stations it was one to one. We all had enough time at each station, with the full attention of a member of the faculty to guide us through the more challenging techniques.

Top tip

Delegates should have a basic knowledge of anatomy and endoscopy, so it would be useful to refresh your memory before the course.

Further information

Contact C J P McAllen, Orthopaedic Department, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8DH. Tel: 01752 792034, switchboard: 01752 202082;

Competing interests: This course is organised by CJPM. The course fee is subsidised by Smith and Nephew, which supplies arthroscopic equipment, but the organisers receive no payment.

Manav Bawa core surgical trainee year 2, orthopaedic surgery
Christoph McAllen consultant orthopaedic surgeon Derriford Hospital, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Plymouth, UK

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: