Aim: To develop a method for auto-transplantation of the uterus in the pig and to evaluate the early reperfusion events after short-term cold ischemia.
Methods: The bicornate uterus, with the cervix but without ovaries, was dissected and isolated with its bilateral feeding and draining vessels. The uterine arteries were cannulated in situ and the uterus was flushed with heparinized Ringer Acetate. It was stored at 4 degrees C for 1-2 h during continuous flushing. The uterus was then placed in its original pelvic position and the uterine arteries and veins were anastomosed end-to-end to their origin. During approximately 100 min of reperfusion, blood samples and tissue biopsies were taken for monitoring of reperfusion events and detection of ischemia-reperfusion injuries.
Results: Out of 19 auto-transplanted pigs, seven were considered well flushed and were kept for cold ischemia. Of these seven, four showed satisfactory reperfusion judged by change in gross appearance and presence of appropriate venous blood flow. Analysis of blood-gas and metabolite parameters and histology indicated that at least two of these transplants were well reperfused, with no severe ischemia-reperfusion injuries.
Conclusion: In this first report ever on auto-transplantation of the pig uterus it is demonstrated that an acceptable reperfusion can be achieved. Furthermore, it is suggested that because of the large total size of the pig uterus with long uterine horns and the small size of the vessels available for re-anastomosis, the pig is a fairly difficult model for further studies on transplantation of the uterus.