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Alternatives to Laboratory Animals - ATLA

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New Alternative to Animal Models for Surgical Training


Emad Aboud, Carlos Ernesto Suarez, Ossama Al-Mefty and M. Gazi Yasargil

Laboratory training models are essential for developing and refining surgical skills, especially in microsurgery. A perfect training model is the one that can provide the same situation during surgery, in the same anatomy; the closer to live surgery the model is, the greater the benefit. The lack of an accurate vascular model has sometimes necessitated the use of live models when bleeding, and vascular liquid filling is desired for optional learning. We developed a new model utilising human cadavers that can replace the use of live anaesthetised animals for surgical training. The vessels in a cadaveric specimen were connected to artificial blood reservoirs. The arterial side was connected to a pump to provide pulsating pressure inside the arteries, while the venous side was kept under static pressure that applied to the reservoir. This method provides a condition that simulates live surgery in terms of bleeding, pulsation and liquid filling of the vascular tree. It is an excellent alternative model and can be applied to the whole cadaver or to a particular cadaveric specimen (head, arm, leg) or to an isolated organ. It is distinctive and of a great practical value for training in a wide range of surgical procedures, Utilising this technique could forever eliminate the use of live anaesthetised animals for surgical training. The model and device are patent pending application no. 10/339,053.