Digital replantation teaching model in rats

Dean D. Ad-El*, Alice Harper, Lloyd A. Hoffman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Replant surgery is a complex procedure that requires advanced microsurgical skills and is usually performed as an emergency operation, lasting many hours. For these reasons, teaching replantation is difficult. Although teaching models exist, they are often too general or complicated for routine use and do not simulate the stages and the pitfalls of human replant surgery. We have designed a model that is simple and imitates human replant surgery. After reviewing the rat anatomy, students dissect and replant a rat hind limb that has been sharply amputated by the instructor. They follow the same principles of 'real' surgery like debridement, minimizing ischemia time, and stable fixation before anatomosis of vessels. After marking the structures, bony fixation followed by vessel and nerve anastomosis are performed. Muscle is reattached to the skin and limb vascularity evaluated. After we designed this model, plastic surgery residents performed the technique on 10 rats. An 80% limb viability rate was achieved. This model is simple to perform, simulates all the relevant structures and pitfalls of human surgery, and the rats are relatively cheap and can be used for other parallel projects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-44
Number of pages3
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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