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Hand Courses and Teaching

Hand Course

Hand in Hand

Royal Berks links up with Leiden University Medical Center in Holland through Hand Surgery workshop.

On the 25th of May 2009, Mr Zulfi Rahimtoola, consultant orthopaedic hand surgeon at the RBH organised a special surgical workshop on hand trauma at his former training hospital in Leiden, the Netherlands. The other participating surgeons and faculty were very enthusiastic and as result the Royal Berks and Erasmus University will repeat the course annually.

Britain and Holland have always shared various historical city ties and Oxford University has been paired to Leiden University since 1946. The Royal Berkshire Hospital (one of the regional training hospitals for Oxford) has never taken advantage of this fact until Zulfi Rahimtoola came to Reading. Together with his former colleagues, orthopaedic consultant at Leiden, a course was arranged to train British and Dutch orthopaedic registrars in a hands-on surgical workshop. Lectures followed by cadaveric practicals allowed the delegates to learn operative techniques and improve their surgical skills in the anatomy lab. "There is far too little surgical training at this level and most of the teaching is practised on artificial bones where trainee surgeons cannot simulate live surgery in the absence of nerves and vessels and other soft tissues", explains Mr Rahimtoola.

As honorary consultant at Leiden Unversity, Zulfi Rahimtoola, was able to arrange a surgical skills course with his former colleagues in excellent laboratory facilities that Leiden has to offer. Two trainees (one Dutch and one British) were paired to one cadaveric limb each with special surgical instruments, lamps and gowns. Even radiological imaging was present and camera projection. The most common fractures of the hand and wrist were treated including distal radius and carpal (scaphoid) fractures. Through this hands-on approach the trainees could master special techniques in order to treat these often complex injuries and could be supervised by very experienced hand surgeons.

To be continued!

The delegates and faculty members were very pleased with the results of this first surgical hand trauma workshop. It not only benefited the surgical training of the orthopaedic registrars in hand surgery but also allowed for a social forum for professional exchange between their counterparts in the Netherlands. Mr Rahimtoola and his Dutch colleagues are already planning next years' course and hope that the Royal Berkshire/Leiden link can be continued.


Mr Rahimtoola enjoys teaching and since 2009 he has been running a hand surgery workshop with the help of an experienced faculty of international surgeons at the Department of Anatomy of Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

The course is intended for all levels of Dutch and UK orthopaedic and plastic training registrars and has been very successful for the training and hands on experience required in the management of common hand trauma and fractures.

The course is usually held in the springtime and is full-sponsored by the industry.

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Surgery Demonstration
Surgery Demonstration

Lecturing Before the Practical hand surgery
Lecturing Before the Practicals

Certificate of Training