Protocol for a systematic review of good surgical practice guidelines for experimental rodent surgery

Felix Gantenbein, Tim Buchholz, Kimberley Elaine Wever, Merel Ritskes Hoitinga, Stephan Zeiter, Petra Seebeck*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Surgery is an integral part of many experimental studies. Aseptic and minimal invasive surgical technique and optimal perioperative and post-operative care are prerequisites to achieve surgical success and best possible animal welfare outcomes. Good surgical practice cannot only improve the animal's postoperative recovery, but also study outcome and validity. There seems to be a lack of implementation of good surgical practice during rodent surgery. The aim of this systematic review is to identify, critically evaluate and compare the currently recommended standards and underlying guidelines for rodent surgery-and finally to compile a comprehensive guideline of good surgical practice for rodent surgery.

SEARCH STRATEGY: PubMed, Embase and Web of Science were searched to identify guidelines published in peer-reviewed journals. To identify grey literature and unpublished guidelines, we will perform a Google search for published guidelines and search laboratory animal sciences books for relevant book chapters. Additionally, we will conduct a survey among animal researchers enquiring about the guidelines they use.

SCREENING AND STUDY SELECTION: For publications retrieved by the systematic search, unique references are screened by two reviewers, first for eligibility based on title and abstract and subsequently for final inclusion based on full text. Eligibility of books is based on title and content, final inclusion based on chapter full text. Guidelines are either retrieved by Google searches or a survey. Google searches will be conducted by at least four of the authors. Thereafter, guidelines will be screened by two of the authors.

DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: We will extract data from publications, book chapters and guidelines. Based on the extracted data, we will perform a descriptive synthesis of the bibliographical details, guideline development and endorsement, and the prevalence of individual recommendations, including subgroup analysis of the guidance per continent or country and differences between peer-reviewed versus non-peer-reviewed guidance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere100280
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalBMJ Open Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2022


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