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What is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive way to view the organs in the abdomen. It is a safe technique that minimizes soft tissue trauma to the patient allowing for faster and less painful recovery. Anesthesia time can also be reduced which is important in geriatric and debilitated patients.
This technique was originally used as a diagnostic tool for viewing the internal contents of the abdomen and obtaining tissue samples but has progressed to allow for surgical procedures such as ovariectomy (removal of the ovaries), adrenalectomy (removal of the adrenal gland), cholecystectomy (removal of the gall bladder), cryptorchid surgery etc. Advanced laparoscopy procedures are opening the door to new treatment options for pets.
The laparoscopic procedure involves passing a small needle into the abdomen and inflating the abdomen with gas (carbon dioxide) in order to distend it and allow for visualization and working space. Approximately 34 portals are usually made which involves a skin incision that is 5-10mm. Specific surgical instruments are inserted into the abdomen through the portals. A scope is placed to view the abdomen and several other instruments such as electrocautery, laparoscopic surgical instruments and lasers can be placed via the other portals to perform the procedure.
The images from the scope are magnified on a monitor in the operating room which gives an excellent view of the internal organs. Once the procedure is performed the site can be closely monitored for complications such as excess bleeding. This can be dealt with immediately if needed.
Ideal candidates for laparoscopy are dogs that are lean and weigh at least 30 pounds. Obese dogs or dogs that are very small (<15 lbs) can make the procedure more difficult.
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