Laparoscopy is the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques in which an operating camera (laparoscope) is introduced through a small ¼” incision. This allows the doctor to more thoroughly exam the abdomen on a TV monitor without the need for large surgical incisions. A secondary small incision is made to facilitate the use of surgical instruments. The most common use of laparoscopy is biopsy.
In recent years, laparoscopy has been adopted as a dramatically less traumatic and less painful alternative to traditional spays.
Laparoscopic spays offer patients minimal pain, minimal recovery time and significantly reduced surgical incision size than traditional spays. The procedure is done through two tiny incisions in the abdomen, typically 3/16” in size. Under magnified views the ovarian ligament is carefully cut, cauterized and removed through one of the tiny incisions.
There are significant advantages of Laparoscopic spays over traditional spays:
- Controlled incisions eliminate pain and bruising caused by the tearing of tissue associate with a traditional spay.
- Less surgical stress and significantly less post-operative pain.
- Surgery performed through a few tiny incisions which are less painful and reduces recovery time.
- Usually performed as an outpatient procedure so your pet is able to recover at home.
- Laparoscopy allows for better visualization of the abdominal organs due to the magnification involved.
- In larger breed dogs gastropexy can be performed at the time of the spay reducing the chances of “bloat” or gastric dilation volvulus.
Many of our young large breed dogs suffer from painful cartilage defects in their shoulders, elbows, knees and hock joints. With our fiber optic scopes it has enabled us to treat these dogs very effectively, on an outpatient basis and with minimal discomfort. The surgeries are carried out through tiny holes with very specialized scopes and surgical instruments causing little post-operative swelling or pain. This is one place where our patients have really benefited from advances in the human field.
Laparoscopy and Thoracoscopy
These terms refer to surgeries of the abdomen and chest. The advantage of these types of surgeries over conventional methods are again related to patient comfort and post-op recovery time.
In our animal patients, diseases of the abdomen frequently require exploratory surgery to establish the exact nature of the disease process. Laparoscopy has revolutionized these surgeries in our hospital with most patients returning home the same day, hardly aware that they had surgery at all.
The usefulness of these instruments extends much further than mere samples gathering and we routinely use our scopes during more involved surgeries such as removing testicles retained in the abdomen or treating fluid accumulations around the heart sac.
Not every surgery procedure can be performed laparoscopically. Your pet’s doctor is the best judge of what can and can’t be done with this technology. Please contact our office if you would like to discuss laparoscopic surgery and whether it is right for your pet.