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Definitive Surgical Trauma Skills (DSTS)

Taught over two days by skilled and knowledgeable faculty, you will learn how to make life-saving surgical decisions and perform damage control under pressure in a trauma and emergency environment. 

Through practical workshops on unembalmed cadavers, you will learn surgical procedures to manage a broad range of trauma situations, as well as covering decision-making, epidemiology and emerging technologies.

RCS membership entitles you to a 10% discount on this course at partner centres. Find out if you're eligible to join or transfer

To see a list of our current Definitive Surgical Trauma Skills course centres please click here (correct as of May 2020)

  • £1,399.00
  • 2 days
  • 12.00 CPD Points
2 days
12.00 CPD Points


This course is suitable for: ST5-8, consultants and SAS grades.

Participants should have a good understanding of ATLS and critical care principles and experience of managing trauma both frequently and infrequently.

Learning Outcomes

Following the course, you will be able to:

  • organise and plan life-saving decision making for the polytrauma patient;
  • describe the philosophy of damage control surgery and resuscitation and the principles underlying its application in a variety of scenarios;
  • discuss the science of ballistics, the effects on human tissue and how to manage penetrating ballistic injury;
  • recognise and respond to the exsanguinating patient, in particular recognising and / or searching for the most compelling source of bleeding;
  • recognise the patient in need of immediate life-saving surgery for haemorrhage control.
Following the course, you will be able to undertake procedures in cadaveric simulation relating to:
  • thoracic trauma and thoracic damage control;
  • left lateral thoracotomy and clamshell thoracotomy;
  • vascular trauma and vascular damage control;
  • how to approach and manage penetrating neck injuries;
  • managing injuries at the thoracic outlet and upper limb;
  • lower limb trauma;
  • abdominal trauma;
  • pelvic trauma and pelvic damage control;
  • management of solid organ injury;
  • management of hollow organ injury .


DSTS is a highly practical course that teaches procedures and surgical techniques required to manage exsanguinating polytrauma. The majority of the course is spent in the skills lab, working in small groups on unembalmed (fresh frozen) cadavers. Alongside this, there are lectures, case studies and on-going opportunities to discuss trauma management with expert faculty. You will also be given access to videos and accompanying procedural steps on our virtual learning environment that demonstrate many of the procedures taught on the course. 

Additional Information

Course content

You will cover a variety of topics during this course, including:

  • closure and drains;
  • pulmonary injuries;
  • renal injury;
  • subclavian injuries and axillary injuries;
  • the damage control philosophy;
  • trauma laparotomy;
  • vascular didactic.

Take a look at a sample Definitive Surgical Trauma Skills (DSTS) programme.


10% discount on this course for RCS members

Members, Fellows and Associates benefit from a 10% discount on this course when held at our Partner Centres in London and Manchester.

Your discount will be applied automatically when booking. 

Find out more about joining today.

Booking Options

There are currently no dates available for this course. Please register your interest and we will email you when the next dates are announced.

Register your interest

Further information and queries


Phone us

Call 020 7869 6300 to talk with a member of our team. 

We are available to answer calls during our working hours of 8.30am–4:.0pm, Monday–Friday and there is a voicemail outside this time.