Veterinarians Innovate Surgery Education with Launch of Global Open-Access Study Book

Sep 1, 2021

The Cutting Edge Basic Veterinary Surgery Techniques’ is now available for free download

Two veterinary surgeons have set out to bring the latest veterinary surgical education to veterinarians globally with the launch of an online veterinary surgery book during the Veterinary Innovation Summit 2021.  Dr Jolle Kirpensteijn, one of the two co-editors, says: “Very few veterinary educational books are available free of charge, which limits the distribution of these important resources to regions of the world that most need better access to veterinary education and patient care.” 

The third edition of ‘The Cutting Edge, Basic Veterinary Surgery Techniques’ has been created by veterinary lecturers from both academic and private practice. This specific edition is designed for an open-access web-based platform and is free to download at www.globalveterinarysurgery.net. The Veterinary Innovation Summit took place from August 27-29.

Co-editor Dr Gert ter Haar says: “The cool thing is that students worldwide will be able to use the information for their benefit, improving their surgical knowledge and skills at minimal cost.” 

The 400+ page volume covers a wide array of surgical topics and is not species-specific, enabling all veterinary healthcare team members to enjoy its content without sub-specializing.

“We wanted to launch the book during the Summit as its key themes were innovation and the improvement of access to care in the broadest form of its definition,” explains Dr Kirpensteijn. “By offering royalty-free education tools through a digital and global network, we are changing the world for the better step by step. Now all you need to learn is a mobile phone and a connection to the internet.”

The free download is available here:

Note to editors:

Dr Jolle Kirpensteijn and Dr Gert ter Haar graduated from the Utrecht University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Holland. Jolle is a Diplomate of the American and European College of Veterinary Surgeons and a Past President of the WSAVA. After a 20-year career in academia, he currently works as Chief Veterinary Officer for Hills Pet Nutrition in the USA. Jolle has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, given more than 250 lectures worldwide, and has received several prestigious awards. Check out his podcasts at purrpodcast.net and his surgery website at globalveterinarysurgery.net

Gert is a Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Surgeons, also started his career in academics. He gave over 200 national and international lectures on ENT medicine & surgery, hearing research in dogs, and soft tissue/reconstructive surgery in dogs and cats. In 2017, Gert started working in private practice for Anicura in Utrecht, The Netherlands. His current research involves hearing loss in dogs and cats and brachycephalic obstructive airway syndrome.

The Cutting Edge 3.0 is free to download

The cover of the new Cutting Edge

After years of hard work, the Cutting Edge 03 is available for the wide world! Gert and I decided to make this edition free of rights for anyone that wants to download the book and use it for their personal benefit. If you hit the book button on top of the menu, you can directly download it. We do ask you to contact us if you want to print it for outside of personal use and for any requests for translations. we are so excited to be able to offer this to every one that is interested in veterinary surgery. Thank you to all our amazing contributors and especially the awesome Karen Parrott (kmparrott@gmail.com) for the beautiful make up and style of the book.

Anything you always wanted to know about hot and cold surgery tools


This rabbit’s fur was set on fire after applying an energy-based device in the presence of a surgical field still wet from an alcoholic disinfectant

Happy 2021! We just published our fourth chapter of the Cutting Edge. Dr Bart van Goethem and others discuss electro-, cryo-, and laser surgery.

In electrosurgery or diathermy, heat is generated in the patient’s tissue due to an electric current, with the aim of using this heat for hemostasis or for making incisions. Electric current is the flow of free charge carriers – electrons and ions – from a positive electrode (the source) to a negative electrode or ground.

Electrosurgery requires an electrosurgical generator that changes the standard 50 or 60 Hz, low frequency electrical current into a useable high frequency 200 kHz to 5 MHz current. Since the neuromuscular system becomes refractory to electrical stimulation beyond a frequency of 100 kHz, there is minimal stimulation when using these high frequencies. The spectrum mentioned falls within the electromagnetic spectrum of low radiofrequency bands (AM broadcast signals 550-1550 kHz). Some units go as high as 3-4 megahertz (MHz) and occur in the range between AM and FM radio broadcasting. These are referred to as radio wave radiosurgery units (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Most electrosurgical units operate in the low radiofrequency bandwidth (AM broadcast). Radio wave radio surgical units operate in the high radiofrequency bandwidth (FM broadcast).

When heat is applied to a biological system, the effect is temperature-related and also dependent on application time. Between 38-60°C, tissues will warm and weld without obvious visual signs. At 60-65°C irreversible damage resulting from coagulation necrosis and protein denaturation is visible as blanching. At 65-90°C protein denaturation resulting in white/greyish discoloration occurs. At 90-100°C tissues dry and show puckering. Above 100°C solid tissue vaporization results in steam and smoke, and temperatures of 350-450°C result in immediate carbonization and char formation.

The use of electrosurgical equipment has some inherent risks. Most operating room fires are caused by the use of electrosurgical equipment. Regular checks of insulation and grounding pads should therefore be performed. Smoke generated by these devices contains many carcinogenic compounds. A smoke evacuation system is therefore highly recommended.

Click on the Cutting Edge chapter for more info!!

Chapter 3 of the Cutting edge is now ‘live’

Various types of surgical scissors

Just before the new year, we have published the third chapter of ‘the Cutting Edge.’ This chapter describes the various and most common instruments you need as a surgeon. Please go to the menu and click the ‘Cutting Edge’ tab.

What kind of grip do you use when you hold your instruments? The ‘pencil grip‘ is used for short or sharply curved incisions. In this grip, the hand’s muscles and the upper arm are used to direct the scalpel, allowing small and accurate movements. As the scalpel is held almost vertical and mainly uses the blade’s tip, it is only in partial contact with the wound edges. This facilitates the making of curves and improves the accuracy of the incision.

The Pencil grip

The ‘fingertip grip’ or ‘palm grip‘ is used for long, slightly curved, or straight incisions. The scalpel is held more horizontally so that the blade is in contact with the tissue over a longer distance (using the blade’s belly). This grip stabilizes the scalpel and reduces the effect of the variable blade pressure on the incision’s depth.

The palm grip

In this grip, the scalpel is predominantly guided by the arm muscles. There is less radial deviation, which makes the grip less tense. The incision should be made with a fluid movement without removing the blade from the wound. This avoids the ragged edge of several subsequent incisions. When cutting through the skin, the free hand may pull the skin tight to control better the scalpel pressure and, hence, the incision’s depth.

New VetSurg Podcast is published

In this episode, we have an extra-long interview with Dr. Peter Lotsikas from Skylos Sports Medicine. We discuss his latest publication about the combination of total hip replacement and amputation in dogs. Peter has a fascinating story about his surgery background and the article. He explains that THR has become very advanced and that dogs with amputation do really well with a THR if needed. We end the podcast with a neighboring article from the same journal, where a new technique for stenotic nares is described, call DOR. Want to know what it stands for? Listen to the podcast 🙂

For more info about Peter: