Critical steps for initiating an animal uterine transplantation model in sheep: Experience from a case series

Angeline Favre-Inhofer, Marie Carbonnel, Aurélie Revaux, Olivier Sandra, Valérie Mougenot, Romain Bosc, Valérie Gélin, Arash Rafii Tabrizi, Barbara Hersant, François Vialard, Pascale Chavatte-Palmer, Christophe Richard, Jean Marc Ayoubi

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Recent reports have demonstrated uterus transplantation as a relevant solution to treat absolute uterine infertility. Training on animal models is a prerequisite to set up a uterine transplantation program in humans. Sheep have been used as an optimal model for training and research as they display similar vessels size to human. While the ovine model might seem easy there are many difficulties in performing this complex surgery. In this study we describe through our experience the critical initial steps toward building a learning curve toward an optimal ovine uterine transplantation model. Materials: We performed nine orthotopic uterine autotransplantations using end-to-side anastomoses to the external iliac vessels in sheep. We recorded the duration of all surgical steps and pointed out specific difficulties and solution found. Results: We were able to perform optimal uterine dissection after the first 5 cases and optimal bilateral arterial and venous anastomoses, after 7 and 9 cases respectively. The main factors associated to success rate were optimal exposure, appropriate equipment, careful vessel preparation and modification of the anastomosis technique. Conclusion: As uterine transplantation research programs are expanding, setting up an ovine model to train and perform research is critical. Such model is complex and requires optimized multidisciplinary approach to build an efficient learning curve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-251
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Surgery
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018



  • Infertility
  • Learning curve
  • Sheep
  • Transplantation
  • Uterus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this

Favre-Inhofer, A., Carbonnel, M., Revaux, A., Sandra, O., Mougenot, V., Bosc, R., Gélin, V., Tabrizi, A. R., Hersant, B., Vialard, F., Chavatte-Palmer, P., Richard, C., & Ayoubi, J. M. (2018). Critical steps for initiating an animal uterine transplantation model in sheep: Experience from a case series. International Journal of Surgery, 60, 245-251.