FEB 04, 2015 01:30 PM PST

The Surgeons Toolbox: outcomes are only as good as the contents of the box

  • Global Head, Animal Welfare and Compliance Training, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research
      Dr. Szczepan Baran is the Global Head, Animal Welfare and Compliance Training at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research.

      Dr. Baran received a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Veterinary Medicine from the University of Delaware, a Veterinary Medical Doctoral degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and a Master of Science in Comparative Medicine from the University Of Washington School Of Medicine.

      In 2005, he joined Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center where he was a member of the team that discovered the first canine embryonic stem cells. Then in 2007 Dr. Baran founded and became COO of the Veterinary Bioscience Institute before his current employment at Novartis.

      Dr. Baran founded the LinkedIn group "Laboratory Animal Science and Medicine," the largest group in this field. He also served as, Graduate Course Director, Drexel University College of Medicine, Assistant Professor at Delaware Valley, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology, Wake Forest School of Medicine and most notably as Director at Large for the Academy of Surgical Research as well as a Board Member of Americans for Medical Progress.

      His research interests include use of microfluidics in safety pharmacology and toxicology, the development and validation of online surgical training programs, and the development and validation of rodent endoscopic procedures. Dr. Baran's hobbies include boxing, micro-facial expressions and psychology of adolescent communication.


    The field of surgical research has been growing rapidly with the development of new surgical and disease models. An extremely important and often overlooked aspect of creating these models is the proper selection and implementation of surgical instrumentation and equipment. It is imperative to identify and select the appropriate instrumentation and equipment for the intended surgical procedure to be able to perform the procedure correctly. Other considerations when choosing surgical instruments are their ergonomic properties while making sure that instruments and equipment are of adequate quality and meet longevity requirements. Most research facilities do not have surgical instrument and equipment procurement specialists on site. Moreover, most personnel performing rodent surgeries do not have the same level of surgical training as human or veterinary surgeons. Therefore, identifying the most appropriate instruments, considering the number of instrument companies, quality and size, can be overwhelming. Inappropriate surgical instrumentation and equipment selection increases the risk of poor surgical technique and surgical complications leading to poor outcomes. This presentation describes several points that should be considered when selection and procurement of surgical instrumentation and equipment to optimize procedural outcome, thus decreasing confounding factors, risk of morbidity and mortality, and expense in the long term.

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