Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

, Volume 139, Issue 12, pp 1673–1680 | Cite as

The utility and benefit of a newly established postgraduate training course in surgical exposures for orthopedic and trauma surgery

  • Stefan Klima
  • Jon Cornwall
  • David Kieser
  • Niels HammerEmail author
Orthopaedic Surgery



Limited data exist on specialty surgical cadaver courses for graduates, their skill gain, and whether the course contents are transferable to other surgical disciplines.


We present the details on the establishment of a specialist trauma and orthopedics approach course, and explore educational and career outcomes from this program.


A 3-day surgical approach course was developed, including a dissection program utilizing Thiel embalmed cadavers. The course was accredited with the local orthopedics association. Participants were assessed by survey on acquired surgical knowledge, skill, decision-making, confidence, and on self-development and effect on career.


Thirty-one participants successfully completed the courses over 3 years. Increases in surgical skill, knowledge, surgical decision-making and confidence were reported. Skills and confidence also positively impacted on other surgical disciplines. Courses rated highly for learning outcomes; comments highlighted usefulness, applicability, and practicing opportunities, while also impacting positively on career opportunities.


Surgical courses have shown being useful for the acquisition of skills, knowledge, confidence and decision-making, with a positive impact on confidence and decision-making. This information is relevant to future participants, benefactors, surgical programs, and tertiary institutions who want to establish specialist surgical courses.


Education Orthopedic surgery Surgical anatomy Surgical exposures Traumatology approaches 



The authors would like to express their gratitude to the body donors who, while alive, donated their tissues for teaching and research purposes. We would also like to thank their families for supporting this valuable decision. The educational research derived from this project has only been possible by the generous time commitment our surgeons made in their free time to train colleagues beyond any “business as usual”. Christine Hammer took the images. We would also like to thank Mr Simon McMahon, Professor Gary Hooper (New Zealand) and the late Professor Friedrich Anderhuber, Medical University of Graz, Austria, for their inspiring feedback and support. It has been and still is the first and only course of its kind in New Zealand.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None related to this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Trauma, Orthopedic and Plastic SurgeryUniversity Hospital of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Orthopedicus ClinicsLeipzigGermany
  4. 4.Center for Early Learning in MedicineUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  5. 5.Department of Orthopedic Surgery and MSMChristchurch HospitalChristchurchNew Zealand
  6. 6.Medical DivisionFraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming TechnologyDresdenGermany

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