Harikrishnan, V. S., Krishnan, L. K., Abelson, K. S. P. 2019. A novel technique to develop thoracic spinal laminectomy and a methodology to assess the functionality and welfare of the contusion spinal cord injury (SCI) rat model. PLoS ONE 14(7), e0219001.

This study reports the advantage of a novel technique employing a motorised dental burr to assist laminectomy over the conventional manual technique at T10-T11 vertebra level in a rat model of spinal cord injury. Twenty-four female rats were randomly assigned to four groups: (1) conventionally laminectomised, (2) dental burr assisted laminectomised, (3) conventionally laminectomised with spinal cord contusion and (4) dental burr assisted laminectomised with spinal cord contusion. Basso Beattie Bresnahan (BBB) score, postoperative body weights, rat grimace scale (RGS), open cage activity and rearing was studied at 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28 days postoperatively, and area of spinal tissue affected was evaluated histologically. Laminectomised and spinal cord injured rats from dental burr groups showed significantly more weight gain and less weight loss respectively in comparison with respective conventionally laminectomised groups at various time points. Significantly higher RGS score was noticed in conventionally laminectomised animals on Day 1 in comparison to burr assisted laminectomy and presence of pain was evident until Day 7 in the conventionally spinal cord injured group. BBB score did not differ between techniques, whereas laminectomy groups showed more resting time than spinal injury groups. High rearing score was significantly higher in groups which underwent dental burr assisted technique at various time points with respect to their conventional counterparts. This study suggests that the use of dental burr assisted technique to perform laminectomy will bring refinement by producing less pain, aiding in better recovery, removing procedural artefacts without affecting the outcome of the model.

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