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Advanced Surgical Skills for Exposure in Trauma (ASSET) Course

Upcoming ASSET Course: Monday, May 23, 2022


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The ASSET course uses human cadavers to teach surgical exposure of anatomic structures that when injured may pose a threat to life or limb. It is excellent progression from the ATOM course.

Course Description

A course manual is distributed to participants prior to taking the course to provide an overview of key surgical exposures in five key anatomic areas: neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis, extremities, upper and lower. The one day cadaver-based course follows this modular, body region approach. Each section begins with a short case-based overview, followed by a hands-on exposure performed by students under the guidance of faculty. The participant to faculty ratio is low, allowing extensive faculty guidance and interaction with participant. The student assesses his or her ability to perform each exposure independently and is evaluated on knowledge, and technical skills.

In other words, the course allows one to perform all the vascular and visceral exposures one would need to know in managing major trauma.

The course has four participants per cadaver, led by an instructor. All courses are held in the state-of-art Center for the Future of Surgery at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Scrubs, Breakfast and/or Lunch are included, depending of the course start time.

Target Audience

The intended audience includes mid-level and senior surgical residents, trauma and acute care surgical fellows, and any surgeon who wishes a review of this anatomy.


  • The student will demonstrate knowledge of key anatomical exposures for the care of injured and acutely ill surgical patients.
  • The student will demonstrate his or her technical ability to expose important structures that may require acute surgical intervention to save life or limb.
  • The student will gain confidence in performing anatomic exposures independently.
  • Faculty assessment of the student's ability to independently perform anatomical exposures will be satisfactory.


The American College of Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

CME Credit

The American College of Surgeons designates this educational activity for a maximum of 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. The American College of Surgeons ASSET course complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Any person who needs an accommodation under the ADA should contact the course site.

UC San Diego Medical Center-Hillcrest
Division of Trauma
200 West Arbor Drive, #8896
San Diego, CA 92103

Phone: (619) 543-7200
Fax: (619) 543-7202