Creation of consistent burn wounds: A rat model

Elijah Zhengyang Cai, Chuan Han Ang, Ashvin Raju, Kong Bing Tan, Eileen Chor Hoong Hing, Yihua Loo, Yong Chiat Wong, Hanjing Lee, Jane Lim, Shabbir M. Moochhala, Charlotte Ae Hauser, Thiam Chye Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Background Burn infliction techniques are poorly described in rat models. An accurate study can only be achieved with wounds that are uniform in size and depth. We describe a simple reproducible method for creating consistent burn wounds in rats. Methods Ten male Sprague-Dawley rats were anesthetized and dorsum shaved. A 100 g cylindrical stainless-steel rod (1 cm diameter) was heated to 100°C in boiling water. Temperature was monitored using a thermocouple. We performed two consecutive toe-pinch tests on different limbs to assess the depth of sedation. Burn infliction was limited to the loin. The skin was pulled upwards, away from the underlying viscera, creating a flat surface. The rod rested on its own weight for 5, 10, and 20 seconds at three different sites on each rat. Wounds were evaluated for size, morphology and depth. Results Average wound size was 0.9957 cm2 (standard deviation [SD] 0.1845) (n=30). Wounds created with duration of 5 seconds were pale, with an indistinct margin of erythema. Wounds of 10 and 20 seconds were well-defined, uniformly brown with a rim of erythema. Average depths of tissue damage were 1.30 mm (SD 0.424), 2.35 mm (SD 0.071), and 2.60 mm (SD 0.283) for duration of 5, 10, 20 seconds respectively. Burn duration of 5 seconds resulted in full-thickness damage. Burn duration of 10 seconds and 20 seconds resulted in full-thickness damage, involving subjacent skeletal muscle. Conclusions This is a simple reproducible method for creating burn wounds consistent in size and depth in a rat burn model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-324
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Plastic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Animals
  • Burns
  • Rats wound healing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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