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Open Access Surgical Anatomy, Transperitoneal Approach, and Early Postoperative Complications of a Ventral Lumbar Spine Surgical Model in Lewis Rats

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Surgical models in animals are used extensively to study small molecules and devices for lumbar intervertebral disc repair, replacement, and fusion. Although the ventral lumbar animal models themselves are well described, critical assessment of morbidity and mortality avoidance when using the models have not been reported. Hypothesizing that technique modifications and the relative prevalence and severity of complications would be correlated, we collected and examined peri- and postoperative data stratified by surgical technique. We here report complications associated with the transperitoneal approach to the lumbar spine in 268 Lewis rats and offer data-driven suggestions regarding complication avoidance through technique modification. Compared with wider exposure, limiting the width of exposure to a maximum of 3 mm resulted in fewer neurologic complications in the lower limbs. In addition, avoiding extracorporeal reflection of the small intestine during the exposure was associated with lower incidence of postoperative gastrointestinal distress and fewer situations requiring euthanasia. These findings underscore the importance of detailed approaches in minimizing postoperative morbidity and attrition in surgical models.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, USA 2: Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University, New York, New York, USA. [email protected]

Publication date: 2013-10-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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