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Arch Plast Surg. 2014 May;41(3):201-8. doi: 10.5999/aps.2014.41.3.201. Epub 2014 May 12.

The rat model in microsurgery education: classical exercises and new horizons.

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Northwick Park Institute for Biomedical Research, Imperial College, London, UK.
Microsurgery Research and Training Laboratory, Columbia University, New York, USA.
Microsurgery Training and Research Lab, Paris School of Surgery, Paris, France.
Department of Plastic Surgery Sapienza University, Rome, Italy.
Pius Branzeu Centre for Laparoscopic Surgery and Microsurgery, Timisoara, Romania.
Microvascular Anastomosis Simulation Hub, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, UK.


Microsurgery is a precise surgical skill that requires an extensive training period and the supervision of expert instructors. The classical training schemes in microsurgery have started with multiday experimental courses on the rat model. These courses have offered a low threat supervised high fidelity laboratory setting in which students can steadily and rapidly progress. This simulated environment allows students to make and recognise mistakes in microsurgery techniques and thus shifts any related risks of the early training period from the operating room to the lab. To achieve a high level of skill acquisition before beginning clinical practice, students are trained on a comprehensive set of exercises the rat model can uniquely provide, with progressive complexity as competency improves. This paper presents the utility of the classical rat model in three of the earliest microsurgery training centres and the new prospects that this versatile and expansive training model offers.


Laboratories; Microsurgery; Models, educational; Rats

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