Surgical procedures

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​​​​​​​​A. Background & Definitions

Surgical procedures may be needed as part of the study. Provision of appropriate anesthetics and analgesics is an ethical imperative. Also, the use of aseptic technique (specific practices and procedures performed to make equipment and areas free from all microorganisms and to maintain that sterility) is essential to avoid contamination that may impact animal well-being and/or research outcomes. Aseptic technique is expected for all type of surgical procedures, and especial attention is to be paid to serial surgeries, where sterilization of surgical materials may be overlooked. Ideally, even for rodents dedicated room and equipment should be used for surgery. Special monitoring of animals is expected during the post-surgical period, to facilitate and ensure rapid recovery​

​B. Guidance & Expectations

The following topics must be defined and documented:

  • Surgical records, including drugs (anesthetics and analgesics) used
  • Aseptic technique, including procedures for serial surgeries
  • Dedicated room/space and equipment
  • Recovery procedures and post-surgical monitoring​


  • To ensure personnel performing surgery are competent on the specific surgical procedures
  • To consult the veterinarian on the most appropriate drugs and techniques​

C. Resources

Template to describe information related to animal care and use (all items covered by Section 3.4.1) - 3.4.1 Animal care and use.docx

ARRIVE guidelines 2019 for reporting animal research - ARRIVE 2.0​​

Online and other available guidance:

  • Laboratory Animal Anaesthesia 4th Edition. P. Flecknell, Academic Press 2015.
  • Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals, NRC 2009. [1]
  • Experimental surgical models in the laboratory rat [2]
  • ​Experimental and surgical technique in the rat [3]
  • Chapter 4 of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, NRC 2011. [4]
  • ​Anaesthesia NC3Rs [5]

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