Emergency Surgery can be defined as surgery that is required to deal with an acute threat to life, organ, limb or tissue caused by external trauma, acute disease process, acute exacerbation of a chronic disease process, or complication of a surgical or other interventional procedure. The skills needed for emergency surgery include the ability to undertake those abdominal (including urological), thoracic, vascular and soft tissue procedures that need to be performed within 24 hours.
The emergency surgeon needs to be able to assess the need for surgery, know when to involve help from other specialist surgeons, and be able to perform the life-saving procedures as above. He/she needs good decision-making skills, must be a good communicator and be able to coordinate the care of patients with complex problems. The emergency surgeon must understand the physiology of acute disease, how it is influenced by pre-existing comorbidity and be able to rapidly optimise the acutely ill surgical patient. Critical care is best delivered by specialists in intensive care medicine, but the emergency surgeon should be actively involved in this process.
Emergency Surgery is a “transferable competency” which requires the acquisition of knowledge of the basic sciences, surgical anatomy, applied physiology and pathology relevant to emergency surgery, and the technical, professional and clinical skills of an emergency surgeon as defined above.
The European Board of Surgery Qualification (EBSQ) in Emergency Surgery is designed to test this transferable competency leading to the award of the Fellowship of the European Board of Surgery in Emergency Surgery (FEBS/EmSurg). The Emergency Surgery Curriculum details the knowledge and skills required for this qualification.