Trauma Vivas for the FRCS A Case-Based Approach


The trauma viva should not present any surprises for the well-prepared candidate. Trauma forms a key part of orthopaedic training from day one and the examination aims to test the knowledge expected of a new consultant in the generality of trauma. In this respect, the topics likely to be raised can often be predicted and questions are usually presented in the form of a clinical vignette, photograph or an x-ray to initiate discussion.

The exact format will vary from examiner to examiner and between candidates but will often start with a straightforward opening question that a safe candidate would be expected to address without difficulty. Subsequent questions may then test the boundaries of knowledge with extra marks for awareness of the literature and current areas of debate.

The examiner is looking to have a conversation with a colleague about the range of trauma that may present in everyday practice and to establish the experience and confidence of the trainee in this area.
This text aims to present key issues in a case-based format. As ever, there are often several ways to address any problem. One safe and accepted way is presented for the cases here. At a basic level, the candidate should be able to recognise the injury, potential problems and complications and explain the rationale and evidence behind their management.

The viva examination is not the ideal time to describe an operation that you have never seen or read about. Describing what you have seen and done in your training will usually be sufficient as long as it represents safe practice and recognises that certain areas of treatment may be contentious, debated or require particular expertise.


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