An enhanced fresh cadaveric model for reconstructive microsurgery training

Lucy Watson, Tarak Agrebi Moumni Chouari, Karen Lindsay, Ellen Bradshaw, Simon Parson, Jamil Ahmed*, Alain Curnier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
277 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Performing microsurgery requires a breadth and depth of experience that has arguably been reduced as result of diminishing operating exposure. Fresh frozen cadavers provide similar tissue handling to real-time operating; however, the bloodless condition restricts the realism of the simulation. We describe a model to enhance flap surgery simulation, in conjunction with qualitative assessment. Methods: The fresh frozen cadaveric limbs used in this study were acquired by the University. A perfused fresh cadaveric model was created using a gelatin and dye mixture in a specific injection protocol in order to increase the visibility and realism of perforating vessels, as well as major vessels. A questionnaire was distributed amongst 50 trainees in order to assess benefit of the model. Specifically, confidence, operative skills, and transferable procedural-based learning were assessed. Results: Training with this cadaveric model resulted in a statistically significant improvement in self-reported confidence (p < 0.005) and prepared trainees for unsupervised bench work (p < 0.005). Respondents felt that the injected model allowed easier identification of vessels and ultimately increased the similarity to real-time operating. Our analysis showed it cost £10.78 and took 30 min. Conclusions: Perfusion of cadaveric limbs is both cost- and time-effective, with significant improvement in training potential. The model is easily reproducible and could be a valuable resource in surgical training for several disciplines. Level of Evidence: Not ratable.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Plastic Surgery
Early online date25 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2018


  • Cadaveric training
  • Gelatine injection
  • Hand surgery
  • Microsurgery
  • Surgical training


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