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Rodent Surgery Training Tutorial

Training Requirements

Personnel must complete the following training prior to performing rodent surgical procedures at Penn State:

  1. Read the IACUC Rodent Surgery Guidelines
  2. Complete the Procedures With Care Aseptic Technique in Rodent Surgery full training video-tutorial (appoximately 17 minutes long) available online ( Please note that although PSU does not require rodent surgeons to wear sterile gowns or use sterile towels to dry their hands after washing in preparation for surgery, these materials should be clean and unused.
  3. Complete the ARP Rodent Surgery Training tutorial.
  4. Unless you are an experienced rodent surgeon, we strongly recommend that you obtain additional training from ARP and/or other qualified and experienced research personnel prior to performing surgery. ARP offers Rodent Surgery Training classes once a semester.

Overview of the Surgery Tutorial

Included within this tutorial are recommendations for learning and conducting surgical procedures as well as details regarding each step, from planning the procedure to post operative recovery. Personnel with reasonable dexterity can master most common rodent surgical techniques by adhering to basic principles. However, the new surgeon should be aware that there is much to learn and it can be difficult to maintain focus on performing a surgical technique while also maintaining sterility and trying to monitor anesthetic depth. Overall surgical competence will develop with practice and with careful attention to details.

Contents of the Online Tutorial

  1. General Principles of Surgery
  2. Record Keeping
  3. Anesthesia and Analgesia
  4. Instrument Preparation
  5. Animal Preparation
  6. Performing Surgery
  7. Postoperative Care
  8. Pain Recognition

Completing the Online Tutorial

Read through each topic page starting with #1, General Principles of Surgery. At the bottom of each topic page is a hyperlink that will take you to the next topic or you may click on the training tutorial home hyperlink to bring you back to this page.

Additional Specific Training

Training for specific surgical procedures may be obtained from Animal Resource Program personnel or Penn State research personnel. In general, when learning a new procedure:

  • Familiarize yourself with the relevant anatomy of the species you will be using.
  • Observe an experienced surgeon perform the procedure.
  • Develop your technique first using cadaver animals, if possible.
  • Do not try to obtain experimental data from training or practice animals.

Proceed to General Principles of Surgery