Technical staff performing rodent surgery may have had little formal training in surgical techniques and asepsis and may require general surgical training as well as training for the specific techniques they are expected to perform (Stevens and Dey 2007).
Training guidelines for research surgery commensurate with an individual’s background are available (ASR 2009) to assist institutions in developing appropriate training programs. The IACUC, together with the AV, is responsible for determining that personnel performing surgical procedures are appropriately qualified and trained in the procedures (Anderson 2007).
Presurgical planning should include input from all members of the surgical team (e.g., the surgeon, anesthetist, veterinarian, surgical technicians, animal care staff, and investigator). The surgical plan should identify personnel, their roles and training needs, and equipment and supplies required for the procedures planned (Cunliffe-Beamer 1993); the location and nature of the facilities in which the procedures will be conducted; and perioperative animal health assessment and care (Brown and Schofield 1994). A veterinarian should be involved in discussions of the selection of anesthetic agents and doses as well as the plan for perioperative analgesic use. If a nonsterile part of an animal, such as the gastrointestinal tract, is to be surgically exposed or if a procedure is likely to cause immunosuppression, preoperative antibiotics may be appropriate (Klement et al. 1987); however, the routine use of antibiotics should never be considered a replacement for proper aseptic surgical techniques.
Presurgical planning should specify the requirements for postsurgical monitoring, care, and recordkeeping, including the personnel who will perform these duties. The investigator and veterinarian share responsibility for ensuring that postsurgical care is appropriate.
Unless an exception is specifically justified as an essential component of the research protocol and approved by the IACUC, aseptic surgery should be conducted in dedicated facilities or spaces. When determining the appropriate location for a surgical procedure (either a dedicated operating room/suite or an area that provides separation from other activities), the choice may depend on the species, the nature of the procedure (major, minor, or emergency), and the potential for physical impairment or post-operative complications, such as infection. Most bacteria are carried on airborne particles or fomites, so surgical facilities should be maintained and operated in a manner that ensures cleanliness and minimizes unnecessary