Laparoscopy has been termed “minimally invasive” or “button hole surgery” and is considered advantageous because it is less invasive than open laparotomy as both a diagnostic and therapeutic tool. Just as in our human counterparts, animals benefit from these less invasive methods through quicker recovery and decreased post-operative pain. Patients are assessed on an individual basis to make sure they are suitable candidates for laparoscopy. Laparoscopy involves insufflating the abdomen with an inert gas and visualizing with an operating telescope connected to a light source and video monitor. Instruments are then inserted through separate small ½ to 1 cm “ports” to perform the procedures. Combined, these high tech tools allow us to visualize and manipulate most of the surfaces of the organs within the abdomen.
Laparoscopy allows us to examine the surfaces of abdominal organs without performing an open laparotomy. Samples of tissue can be obtained from different organs within the abdomen for biopsy or other tests (e.g., cytology, culture). Typical tissues that we biopsy include the liver, kidney, intestine, pancreas, lymph nodes, and abdominal tumors. On occasion, other organs are biopsied or examined and can include the stomach, adrenal glands, urinary bladder, and spleen. General anesthesia is used in most cases although heavy sedation may be acceptable in select cases. The abdomen is prepped and then insufflated with a neutral gas to create a cavity to work within while using the laparoscopic equipment. The patient’s recovery from a laparoscopic procedure is much quicker than with more invasive surgery, and they often go home the same day. There are usually two or three small incisions of 1cm or less in length. Pain medications are often prescribed to ease the discomfort experienced due to insufflation of the abdomen.
For interventional laparoscopic surgery the patient is placed under general anesthesia and prepped for surgery in the same manner as for a diagnostic procedure. The sites are chosen for insertion of the laparoscopic telescopes and instruments based on the procedures to be performed. Depending on the procedure, incisions may be similar or slightly longer than those for diagnostic procedures. Patients who receive laparoscopic surgery have small incisions, experience less pain, and usually go home the same day. Procedures that Chesapeake Veterinary Surgical Specialists performs with laparoscopy include gastropexy, cystopexy, feeding tube placements, and cryptorchid castration. Cystic calculi have also been retrieved via laparoscopy in cases with small numbers of stones.
For more information about laparoscopy surgery, please call Chesapeake Veterinary Surgical Specialists at any of our three locations: Annapolis, Towson or Columbia, MD.