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Microsurgery training course, Columbia University, New York

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 28 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4364
  1. Nigel Abreo, senior house officer in plastic surgery1,
  2. Niroshan Sivathasan, specialist registrar in plastic surgery2
  1. 1St Thomas’ Hospital, London
  2. 2Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead
  1. Correspondence to: N Sivathasan niroshan.s{at}

Microsurgery is a technique used in a wide range of surgical specialties, including neurosurgery and cardiothoracic, plastic, orthopaedic hand, and, vascular surgery. The aim of any basic microsurgery course is to introduce the fundamental skills and techniques required for microsurgical dissection, anastomosis, and neurovascular repair.

Why did you do it?

Currently, only two microsurgery courses are run in the United Kingdom, each costing about £1300 (€1500; $2000) for five days. These courses are offered sporadically and infrequently during the year, have relatively high student to teacher ratios, and require animal licences to practise. Furthermore, they are often oversubscribed and have waiting lists. With most surgical departments strictly limiting the number of junior doctors allowed on leave at any given time, trainees often find themselves constrained and competing with colleagues to attend these seldom obtainable courses. Additionally, given that study allowances for trainees have been drastically slashed, the cost and value for money of any course are even more important.

On searching the internet, we found several courses around the world, including India, Romania, Singapore, and the United States. We chose to attend the Columbia University microsurgery course 2009 in New York City.

Each year the Columbia microsurgery course teaches roughly 80 people in …

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