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Experimental Surgery Unit (ESU)

The general aim of the Experimental Surgery Unit (ESU) is to facilitate scientific and technical research in the area of biomedicine, especially translational research, given that experimentation on large animals is generally a level closer to human application. It is internationally accredited by the AAALAC (Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care).

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In close cooperation with the professionals of the Vall d'Hebron Campus, the ESU provides the necessary support to a variety of teaching activities: from basic activities aimed at resident training or continuous training, to specialised training in innovative, cutting edge, high-tech techniques, making Vall d'Hebron University Hospital an international benchmark, as a centre for technical excellence.

Translational research typically requires the use of live animal models to validate the preclinical tools in order to improve known and applied treatments. In research projects at this level, the groups involved are frequently of a multi-disciplinary nature, such as the interaction between public institutions and private companies, this being necessary to transfer the results of the research to society. A research project using laboratory animals must previously be evaluated by the Ethics Committee on Animal Experimentation, and then by an Authorised Body which must favourably evaluate whether it may be performed. The Vall d'Hebron Research Institute has its own Ethics Committee on Animal Experimentation (CEEA-VHIR)

The ESU complies with strict regulations established by the law, promoting animal welfare and high-quality scientific research. The facilities comply with the prevailing legislation and are registered with the Department of Territory and Sustainability (DTS) of the Generalitat of Catalonia as a Centre for breeding, supplying and use of laboratory animals under number B9900062. It holds the Quality Management Systems ISO 9001: 2015: certificate. Obtaining the ISO 9001 certificate reaffirms the strategic commitment to improving the quality of the processes and services offered.  It recently obtained the AAALAC approval (Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care).


The Experimental Surgery Unit offers latest generation operating theatres equipped with the latest technological equipment for the different medical specialities with comprehensive surgery services:

  • Specialists in preclinical animal models (rabbits, pigs and sheep) for research and teaching purposes.
  • Specialists in Anaesthesia, Analgesia and Resuscitation protocols, pre-and post-op Animal Care and Welfare.
  • Comprehensive Pre-clinical Imaging Services
  • Support for the Ethics Committee on Animal Experimentation.

Request for services

Those interested in contracting the services offered by the Experimental Surgery Unit can make their request through the following form.

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The ESU in numbers


Look at ESU's current and previous rates

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Core Facilities Current Rates

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Core Facilities 2022 Rates

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ESU 2020 rates

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ESU 2013 rates

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