A Pre-Clinical Rat Model for the Study of Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in Reconstructive Microsurgery

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


Ischemia-reperfusion injury is the main cause of flap failure in reconstructive microsurgery. The rat is the preferred preclinical animal model in many areas of biomedical research due to its cost-effectiveness and its translation to humans. This protocol describes a method to create a preclinical free skin flap model in rats with ischemia-reperfusion injury. The described 3 cm x 6 cm rat free skin flap model is easily obtained after the placement of several vascular ligatures and the section of the vascular pedicle. Then, 8 h after the ischemic insult and completion of the microsurgical anastomosis, the free skin flap develops the tissue damage. These ischemia-reperfusion injury–related damages can be studied in this model, making it a suitable model for evaluating therapeutic agents to address this pathophysiological process. Furthermore, two main monitoring techniques are described in the protocol for the assessment of this animal model: transit-time ultrasound technology and laser speckle contrast analysis.