Best practice video tutorial launches on aseptic techniques in rodent surgery

A new comprehensive video tutorial to help research workers apply best practice in aseptic surgical techniques in laboratory rodents has been produced by Newcastle University in collaboration with the NC3Rs.

The first of its kind available freely in Europe to use video as opposed to text guidelines, the 'aseptic technique in rodent surgery' tutorial aims to provide easily achievable standards and improve animal welfare.

Professor Paul Flecknell, Director of the Comparative Biology Centre at Newcastle University, UK who developed the tutorial, said "We aim to provide a practical guide, illustrating techniques that can be adopted in any research facility. These materials will help maintain and raise standards of aseptic surgical technique in research units."

Broken down into eight short videos, the tutorial allows researchers to reduce the risk of post-surgical wound infections which can negatively impact on results in addition to causing distress in laboratory animals.

Tutorials with an accompanying audio commentary cover all aspects of preparing and undertaking surgery including: instrument sterilisation; sterilisation of other materials; aseptic preparation of the animal, surgeon and surgical area; the surgical procedure and batch surgery.

"This resource forms part of our ongoing strategy to raise awareness about contemporary best practice," commented Dr Vicky Robinson, Chief Executive, NC3Rs. "We are delighted to be working alongside Newcastle University and utilising Professor Flecknell's vast expertise in rodent surgical technique training."

Additional material is also available to allow trainers to incorporate the tutorial into their own courses, including a trainer's pack, downloadable video files and supplementary materials. It has been developed after consultation with experts across North America and Europe.

This is the second video resource on the 'Procedures With Care' website, which also includes a series of tutorials on the administration of substances to laboratory animals. The NC3Rs plan to build on this library with a follow-up tutorial in 2013 on anaesthesia and analgesia.

The 'aseptic technique in rodent surgery' tutorial can be viewed at


Notes for Editors:

For further information please contact the NC3Rs media office.

  1. Procedures With Care: The Procedures With Care website provides a series of resources to support the adoption of best practice for commonly used procedures in animal research. The focus is on rats and mice since these are the most widely used animals. Further material will be added to expand the range of techniques and species in the future. The material was developed by Newcastle University with the support of the Institute of Animal Technology and the NC3Rs.
  2. About the NC3Rs: The NC3Rs is an independent scientific organisation which leads on the discovery, development and promotion of new ways to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals in research and testing (the 3Rs). We are supported primarily by Government, but also received funding from the charitable and industrial sectors. The Centre has an annual budget of approximately £6.1 million and is the UK’s major funder of 3Rs research. Further information about NC3Rs activities and programmes can be found at
  3. About Newcastle University: Newcastle University is a Russell Group University. We rank in the top 20 of UK universities in The Sunday Times 2013 University Guide. Amongst our peers Newcastle is 10th in the UK for student satisfaction; in the UK's top 12 for research power in Science and Engineering 93% of our students are in a job or further training within six months of graduating (HEFCE 2012). We have a world-class reputation for research excellence and are spearheading three major societal challenges that have a significant impact on global society. These themes are: Ageing and Health, Sustainability, and Social Renewal. Newcastle University is the first UK University to establish a fully owned international branch campus for medicine at its NUMed Campus in Malaysia which opened in 2011. Our International students put Newcastle University in world's top 12 (ISB 2011).  

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