Small animals such as lewis rats and microsurgery can be used as important tools in experimental surgery1,2,3 From September 15 to October 15, 1989, twenty-five lewis rats were operated upon by a surgeon in training who had no previous experience in microsurgery. Total gastrectomy and Roux-en-Y jejunal reconstruction was performed under 10 magnification microscope1,9,10 and open ether anaesthesia.4,5,6,7,8 Fifteen rats survived the operation till after 28th post operative day. Three died during the intraoperative and seven during the post operative periods. Autopsies were performed in all ten deaths and causes of death were established; Intraoperative hypovolemia in 3, post operative haemoperitoneum in 1, post operative pneumonia in 6, of these 2 were aspirated pneumonia.
This study illustrates the potentiality of using small animals such as lewis rat in experimental surgery; the results of surgical procedure, the physiological response and the cause of death can be studied. The cost is relatively low and the pre and post operative care for scientific data collection are simpler. Morever invaluable microsurgical and anaesthetic skills on small animals can be gained by the trainee during the procedure.
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