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Open Access Short Report

Description and evaluation of a bench porcine model for teaching surgical residents vascular anastomosis skills

Philipe N Khalil1*, Axel Kleespies2, Markus Rentsch2, Wolfgang E Thasler2, Karl-Walter Jauch2 and Christiane J Bruns2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery - Campus Innenstadt, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Nußbaumstraße 20, 80336 Munich, Germany

2 Department of Surgery - Campus Großhadern, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Marchioninistraße 15, 81377 Munich, Germany

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:189  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-189

Published: 13 July 2010



Numerous models, of variable quality, exist to impart the complex skills required to perform vascular anastomosis. These models differ with regard to the kinds of materials used, as well as their sizes, the time needed for their preparation, their availability, and the associated costs. The present study describes a bench model that uses formalin-fixed porcine aorta, and its evaluation by young surgical residents during a recent skills course.


The aortic segments used were a by-product of slaughtering. They were fixed and stored after harvesting for eventual use. Ten young surgical residents participated, and each performed one end-to-side vascular anastomosis. The evaluation was a questionnaire maintaining anonymity of the participant containing questions addressing particular aspects of the model and the experiences of the trainee, along with their ratings concerning the need for a training course to learn vascular anastomosis techniques. The scoring on the survey was done using a global 6-point rating scale (Likert Scale). In addition, we ranked the present model by reviewing the current literature for models that address vascular anastomosis skills.

The trainees who participated were within their first two years of training (1.25 ± 0.46). A strong agreement in terms of the necessity of training for vascular anastomosis techniques was evident among the participating trainees (5.90 ± 0.32), who had only few prior manual experiences (total number 1.50 ± 0.53). The query revealed a strong agreement that porcine aorta is a suitable model that fits the needs for training vascular anastomosis skills (5.70 ± 0.48). Only a few bench models designed to teach surgical residents vascular anastomosis techniques were available in the literature.


The preparatory and financial resources needed to perform anastomosis skills training using porcine aorta are few. The presented bench model appears to be appropriate for learning vascular anastomosis skills, as rated by the surgical trainees themselves.