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Effects of suture material on incision healing, growth and survival of juvenile largemouth bass implanted with miniature radio transmitters: case study of a novice and experienced fish surgeon

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Juvenile largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides, intraperitoneally implanted with microradio transmitters exhibited short-term (5 days) inflammation around the incision and suture insertion points for both non-absorbable braided silk and non-absorbable polypropylene monofilament, but in the longer term (20 days) almost all sutures were shed and the incisions were completely healed. Cumulative mortality was higher for fish with braided silk sutures, however, post-mortem analysis revealed that violations to the gastro-intestinal tract from the surgical procedure were the usual cause of the mortality. Mortality was generally low in control fish. The two surgeons who performed the implantations differed substantially in experience. Despite receiving basic training, the novice surgeon took longer to complete the surgeries, had reduced suture precision and experienced more fish mortality relative to the experienced surgeon. For both surgeons, it took longer to complete suturing with polypropylene than with braided silk. During the surgery day, the experienced surgeon exhibited consistently rapid surgery times, whereas the novice surgeon exhibited significantly improved speed as the number of surgeries completed increased. This study suggests that microtransmitters can be successfully implanted in juvenile largemouth bass but some mortality can be expected. This mortality seems to be independent of suture material, but dependent upon the experience of the surgeon.

Keywords: surgeon experience; surgery; suture material; telemetry; transmitter implantation

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, K7L 3N6 Canada and 2: Sam Parr Fisheries Research Station, Center for Aquatic Ecology, Illinois Natural History Survey, Meacham Rd., Kinmundy, IL 62854, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2003-06-01

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