We performed autologous uterus transplantation using the living-sheep donor model for team preparation before human uterine transplantation. Five sequential operations (in 3 ewes) were prospectively conducted. Surgical technique included uterus retrieval, graft preparation, and uterus transplantation. Anastomoses were performed at the level of the external iliac. At 3-week follow-up, the uterus and anastomoses were checked for strictures and thrombosis. Two successful auto-transplantations were made, and one failed because of undeveloped uterine arteries (< 1 mm in diameter). In the first two ewes, we identified and used a deep, separate uterine vein, which was not described in other publications. In the third ewe, we used the utero-ovarian vein. The team was able to perform safe dissection and auto-transplantation, with no signs of strictures or thrombosis after 3 weeks. Cold ischemic time was 60 minutes, and warm ischemic time was between 40 and 60 minutes, with no need for re-anastomoses. We noticed that using the deep uterine vein in the sheep model can anatomically simulate better the human uterine vein and the difficulty to approach it. To avoid using unsuitable vessels for anastomoses, the uterine transplantation protocol in humans should include imaging of the donor's uterine vessels.
Keywords: autologous transplantation; living donor model; sheep; team preparation; uterus transplantation.
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