Laparoscopic neutering and beyond

Key Information

CPD Hours: 42 hours

Course Format: Lectures, virtual reality laparoscopic simulator training and cadaver practical sessions

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See main text for dates and booking information

This course may run again in the future. To register your interest please contact us.

Alternatively you can download and email using our Registration Form

Really well-run course. I feel it has set me up well to progress laparoscopic surgery in general practice.

Course Information

Key Areas
  • Development of the unique set of psychomotor skills required for laparoscopic surgery
  • Practical hands-on experience of laparoscopic surgeries including neutering, gastropexy, liver biopsy, bile aspirate, abdominal exploration and gastrointestinal biopsies
About this course

This course is due to return in 2025, please email to register your interest.

Are you interested in adding laparoscopy to the services you can offer your patients?

Laparoscopy can be used in veterinary clinics to perform neutering, prophylactic gastropexy, abdominal organ biopsies and much more. Laparoscopy has proven benefits compared to conventional open surgery including:
• Smaller surgical wounds
• Decreased pain
• Faster recovery to normal activities
• Improved outcomes

Laparoscopy requires a unique psychomotor skill set including: video eye-hand coordination, instrument manipulation about a single entry point into the abdomen and adaptation to a 2-D monitor display. A great way to achieve laparoscopic competency, is to practice in a controlled environment, outside the operating room, using computer simulators. This affords the opportunity for rapid and sustained skill acquisition in a safe, ethical and friendly environment. Such training will maximise your chances of success and reduce risk to your patients as you start out on your laparoscopic journey.

This is a 3-stage course

Stage 1: One day onsite April 2025 at the Royal Free Simulation Centre
Stage 2: Various dates in-between May to July at the Royal Free Simulation Centre
Stage 3: Two day onsite July 2025 at the RVC

The first stage is a one-day onsite course. We will discuss the purpose of laparoscopic surgery in veterinary medicine; the kit required for laparoscopic surgery; and laparoscopic psychomotor skills training. You will be introduced to state-of-the-art, virtual reality, high fidelity, laparoscopic computer simulators and also have the opportunity to practice using real laparoscopic instruments in training boxes.

The second stage is a laparoscopic psychomotor skills course, using computer simulators. This is completed over a 60-day period at the Royal Free Hospital Medical Simulation Centre. This course includes: an introductory session; 16 to 25 one-hour, self-directed, training sessions; 3 to 4 one-on-one formative assessments; and a final summative assessment. Introductory sessions and assessments are arranged by appointment. Delegates are free to complete the training sessions at their own convenience: the simulation centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. However, it is best not to do more than 2 training sessions in one day and assessments should not be performed after a training session on the same day.

The third stage includes a one-day lecture series in small animal laparoscopic surgery, complemented by one-day of on-site cadaver practicals at the RVC. 

Why do this course?

This course is designed to launch your “key hole” surgery journey. You will develop the psychomotor skills for laparoscopic surgery using a computer simulator training programme, proven to be ‘the most effective method to acquire and retain long-term surgical skills’ (Dr Pasquale Berlingieri).

Further information on the expectations of stage 2

Stage two is fundamental to this course, so please consider your access to the Royal Free Hospital and commitment to laparoscopic surgery before signing up. All prospective applicants should contact CPD ( In order to access the Royal Free Hospital all delegates will need to provide a CV and two references.

This course is based on a distributed practice model, where learners do small chunks of training once a day for approximately 30 days, over a total period of 60 days. This low dose high, frequency training is the best way to acquire and retain long-term laparoscopic surgical skills.

The course is divided into 4 blocks. Each block contains a new set of skills, which builds on the learning achieved from the previous set of skills.

Each block includes:

1. A 30- to 60-minute introductory session with the Royal Free course tutor. 

The set of skills is reviewed and goals set for each skill.
This session must be arranged directly with the course tutor. 

2. A minimum of 4 to 5 one-hour, self-directed, training sessions. 

The set of skills is practiced by the delegate to achieve the goals set.

These sessions do not have to pre-booked.  After the introductory session 24-hour, 7-days a week access to the centre is granted.  It is unusual for a delegate to wait more than 1 hour for a free simulator. No more than 2 sessions should be completed in one day. Each session should last a maximum of 1 hour. There should be at least 1 hour between training sessions performed on the same day. Number of training sessions is dependent on the speed of skill acquisition and varies between delegates.

3. A 30- to 60-minute one-on-one formative assessment with the Royal Free course tutor. 

The course tutor will review the goals set, but also components of technique that cannot be measured by the computer, such as crossing over of hands and instruments. After this assessment the delegate will either be introduced to the next set of skills or be asked to complete a further 4 to 5 training sessions on the same skill set. This session must be arranged directly with the course tutor. 


Pasquale Berlingieri, MD PhD MSc
Head of Screen-Based Simulation Centre,
Royal Free Hospital

Cristina Bianchi, DVM MVetMed DipACVAA MRCVS
Lecturer in Veterinary Anaesthesia and Analgesia
The Royal Veterinary College

Head of Soft Tissue Surgery
Hamilton Specialist Referrals

Matteo Rossanese, DVM SPSA MSc DipECVS CertAVP MRCVS
Lecturer in Small Animal Surgery
The Royal Veterinary College

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