The Turkey Digit: A New Training Model for Digit Replantation

M. Diya Sabbagh, Mohamed Morsy, Si Gyun Roh, Chun Kun Lu, Peter C. Amadio, Chunfeng Zhao, Steven L. Moran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Replant survival rates have reportedly declined over the past decade. Although this problem is multifactorial, 1 potential solution may include the development of a relevant teaching model. The development of an in vivo animal model that can be used for surgical training could enhance surgeon and resident experience and potentially improve outcomes. Here, we present a novel training model for digit replantation using turkey digits. Methods: Six mature male Bourbon Red turkeys were included in this study. With the animal under general anesthesia, the third digit on either the left or the right foot was randomly selected and amputated. The medial and lateral digital neurovascular bundles were dissected on both sides and the digit was replanted. Perfusion was confirmed prior to skin closure. The foot was casted prior to extubating the turkeys. Turkeys were then placed in a non–weight-bearing sling. Digit status was evaluated twice daily. Results: All 6 replanted digits were viable immediately after surgery and for at least 24 hours after surgery. The average digit survival was 6 days with a maximum survival of 15 days. All digits were eventually lost owing to a variety of reasons including infection and arterial thrombosis. Conclusions: The turkey digit proved to be a successful short-term animal training model for digit replantation. Future studies are needed to determine optimum standard surgical procedure and postoperative care to maximize the educational benefits of this training model. Clinical relevance: To establish an animal model that can simulate digital replantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777.e1-777.e7
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Digit replantation
  • finger
  • replantation
  • turkey digit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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