The authors evaluated the reliability of a rat-tail replantation model. Eleven male adult Sprague-Dawley rats were involved. The tails were completely amputated 3 to 6 cm distal to the base. They were then replanted in the following order: fixation of the coccygeal vertebrae; suturing of tendons; anastomosis of the artery; anastomosis of the two dominant veins (or one of them); and skin closure. Tails were inspected daily for 14 postoperative days for color, capillary refill, skin consistency and wound condition. Subsequently, ultrasound Doppler inspection and angiography were carried out to observe the patency of the vessels. All replanted tails were pink, viable, and had normal capillary refill and appearance. Complete survival was achieved. Doppler flow imaging and angiography demonstrated patency of the vessels. This rat-tail replantation is a reliable and reproducible experimental model of microvascular anastomosis. Crucial steps in the procedure are presented.
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