Surgical Training Policy - Training and Certification

Surgical Training Policy

Approved August 1, 2011    (Download) 

Rationale:

The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (The Guide)1 states that “The institution should provide adequate education and training to members of research teams – including principal investigators, study directors, research technicians, postdoctoral fellows, students, and visiting scientists – to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge and expertise for the specific animal procedures proposed and the species used.” [p16-17]

Specifically regarding surgical training, The Guide1 states that “Researchers conducting surgical procedures must have appropriate training to ensure that good surgical technique is practiced – that is, asepsis, gentle tissue handling, minimal dissection of tissue, appropriate use of instruments, effective hemostasis, and correct use of suture materials and patterns. Training may have to be tailored to accommodate the wide range of educational backgrounds frequently encountered in research settings.” [p115]

The IRAC publication, U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training2, also broadly addresses the issue of surgical training in Principle VIII, which states that “Investigators and other personnel shall be appropriately qualified and experienced for conducting procedures on living animals. Adequate arrangements shall be made for their in-service training, including the proper and humane care and use of laboratory animals.”

Insufficient surgical training of members of research teams can result in poor surgical outcome(s), including excessive bleeding or tissue trauma, incisional dehiscence, slow recovery, post-operative pain or infection, unexpected mortality, increased variability, and altered research data.

In order to meet the institutional requirement to provide adequate surgical training at the UW, the IACUC has adopted the following policy.

Policy: All personnel who participate in the conduct of survival surgical procedures on laboratory animals at the UW must be adequately experienced or trained to ensure that good surgical technique and humane animal care are practiced, according to the specific surgical procedures and species involved.

Implementation: This policy applies to all personnel performing aseptic animal surgery for the first time at the UW, as well as all UW personnel performing aseptic animal surgery on a category of animal (Rodents; USDAcovered non-rodents; Other animals) for which they have not previously been certified. Certification requires completion of a specific sequence of online and hands-on surgery training classes (see attached flow chart) prior to being approved to independently perform aseptic surgery. Specific requirements depend on the animal used and the prior experience and training of the surgeon.

Rodents (e.g., mouse, rat, gerbil, hamster, guinea pig): All personnel who require certification and will perform aseptic surgery on rodents must take and pass the online course, “Introduction to Rodent Surgery.” Personnel with no previous aseptic surgery experience must complete hands-on courses “Surgery Laboratory Part IA” and “Surgery Laboratory Part II”. Part IA provides training in surgeon preparation (gloving), instrument handling, and suturing on inanimate material. Part II provides training in aseptic surgery on a live animal. Personnel with previous aseptic surgery experience, and personnel who have completed the surgery laboratories (Part 1A and Part II), are then approved for supervised experience with surgical procedures on their protocol in the location(s) used for surgery by their laboratory staff. When ready, personnel will request “Aseptic Surgery Certification,” which involves on-site observation by the Attending Veterinarian or a designee. Based on the on-site observation, personnel are either certified to perform aseptic surgery independently, or required to have additional training in specific aspects of surgery before certification is granted.

USDA-covered non-rodents (e.g., bat, rabbit, ferret, cat, dog, pig, ruminant, non-human primate): All personnel who require certification and will perform aseptic surgery on USDA-covered non-rodents must take and pass the online course, “Introduction to USDA-Covered Non-rodent Surgery.” Personnel who will participate in major surgery on NHPs must additionally take the “WaNPRC Surgery Suite Orientation,” which provides on-site training in operating room function and etiquette. Personnel with no previous aseptic surgery experience must complete hands-on courses “Surgery Laboratory Part IB” and “Surgery Laboratory Part II”. Part IB provides training in surgeon preparation (scrubbing, gowning, gloving), instrument handling, and suturing on inanimate material. Part II provides training in aseptic surgery on a live animal. Personnel with previous aseptic surgery experience, and personnel who have completed the surgery laboratories (Part IB and Part II), are then approved for supervised experience with surgical procedures on their protocol in the location(s) used for surgery by their laboratory staff. When ready, personnel will request “Aseptic Surgery Certification,” which involves on-site observation by the Attending Veterinarian or a designee. Based on the on-site observation, personnel are either certified to perform aseptic surgery independently, or required to have additional training in specific aspects of surgery before certification is granted.

Other Animals (e.g., frog, fish, bird): All personnel who require certification and will perform aseptic surgery on other animals, such as frogs, fish, or birds, must take and pass the appropriate online course (“Introduction to Frog Surgery,” “Introduction to Fish Surgery,” “Introduction to Bird Surgery”). Personnel with no previous aseptic surgery experience must complete hands-on courses “Surgery Laboratory Part IA” and “Surgery Laboratory Part II”. Part IA provides training in surgeon preparation appropriate to the animal, instrument handling, and suturing on inanimate material. Part II provides training in aseptic surgery on a live animal. Personnel with previous aseptic surgery experience, and personnel who have completed the surgery laboratories (Part IA and Part II), are then approved for supervised experience with surgical procedures on their protocol in the location(s) used for surgery by their laboratory staff. When ready, personnel will request “Aseptic Surgery Certification,” which involves on-site observation by the Attending Veterinarian or a designee. Based on the on-site observation, personnel are either certified to perform aseptic surgery independently, or required to have additional training in specific aspects of surgery before certification is granted.

 

Special Cases:

  • Visiting scientists or surgery instructors with surgical training and expertise will be exempted from these requirements on a case-by-case basis.
  • Personnel performing non-survival surgery that requires aseptic conditions, as determined during IACUC protocol review, must be trained and certified as described in this policy.

 

References:

  1. Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, 8th Edition (2011), ILAR, NRC, National Academies Press.
  2. U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training (1985), Interagency Research Animal Committee.