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Abdominal Exploratory Laparotomy


Abdominal Exploratory Laparotomy


An abdominal exploratory is a surgical procedure involving the opening of the abdominal cavity and examination of the abdominal organs.

Indications:

An abdominal exploratory is indicated whenever there is significant abdominal disease that eludes diagnosis such as

  • Chronic Vomiting,
  • Penetrating Abdominal Wounds,
  • Abdominal Pain,
  • Abdominal Fluid Accumulation,
  • Urinary Bladder Disease,
  • Abdominal Masses And
  • Intestinal diseases are some of the more common indications for an abdominal exploratory.

Pre-Surgical Tests:

  • Preoperative tests depend in part on the age and general health of the animal as well as the reason for the abdominal exploratory.
  • Typically, radiographs, blood count, serum biochemical tests, a urinalysis, and possibly an EKG are performed.

 Type of Anesthesia:

  • As in human patients, the procedure in dogs and cats requires general anesthesia to induce complete unconsciousness and relaxation.
  • In the usual case, the pet will receive a pre-anesthetic sedative-analgesic drug to help him relax, a brief intravenous anesthetic to allow placement of a breathing tube in the windpipe, and subsequently inhalation (gas) anesthesia in oxygen during the actual surgery.

  Abdominal Exploratory Surgery: 

  • Following anesthesia, the pet is placed on a surgical table, lying on his back. The hair is clipped over the middle of the abdomen, the skin is scrubbed with surgical soap to disinfect the area, and a sterile drape is placed over the surgical site.
  • Veterinarian uses a scalpel to incise the skin at the middle of the abdomen to open the abdominal cavity. The abdominal organs are examined and evaluated.
  • If deemed necessary, other surgical procedures such as spleenectomy, biopsy, cystotomy, ovariohysterectomy, gastrotomy or enterotomy may be performed.
  • The abdominal incision is then closed with one or two layers of self-dissolving sutures (stitches). The outer layer of skin is closed with sutures or surgical staples; these need to be removed in about 10 to 14 days.

Abdominal Exploratory Time:

  • The procedure takes about one to two hours to perform in most cases, including the needed time for preparation and anesthesia.
  • The time will vary depending on any other surgical procedures that are performed. 

Risks and Complications:

  • The overall risk of this surgery is moderate to low, depending on the reason for the procedure.
  • The major risks are those of general anesthesia, bleeding (hemorrhage), postoperative infection, intestinal or urinary bladder leakage and wound breakdown (dehiscence) over the incision.
  • Overall complication rate is low, but serious complications can result in death or the need for additional surgery.

 Aftercare:

  • Postoperative medication is given to relieve pain, which is judged in most cases to be moderate and can be effectively eliminated with safe and effective pain medicines.
  • The home care requires reduced activity until the stitches are removed in 10 to 14 days.
  • You should inspect the suture line daily for signs of redness, discharge, swelling, or pain.

Hospitalization:

  • The hospital stay will vary depending on the reason for the exploratory and any additional surgeries that were performed.
  • Hospital stays may vary from 2 to 5 days and release from the hospital will depend on the overall health of the pet.

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