veterinary laparoscopyLaparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgery, has been the gold standard in human surgery for many years. However, in veterinary medicine this surgical technique is not yet common practice.

For a veterinary hospital, the ability to offer laparoscopic surgery involves a significant commitment, both in terms of the time it takes for the veterinarian to acquire the advanced training needed to use laparoscopic equipment, and in the financial investment of the equipment itself. A veterinary practice’s investment in offering laparoscopy can run upwards of $40,000, inclusive of the laparoscopic equipment itself, as well as the sterilization equipment needed beyond what is normally found in a veterinary practice.

The Defining Points of Veterinary Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is a modern surgical technique in which abdominal surgeries are performed through small incisions, using a rigid scope with an integrated high definition color magnifying camera and fiber optic light source.

With the inflation of the abdomen using carbon dioxide gas, the abdominal wall is elevated above the internal organs, creating a larger field for viewing and working. With a larger field for working, the laparoscope permits better visualization of structures which are viewed on a large high definition screen wherein tiny details can be seen that would be undetected with the naked eye. Once the area has been thoroughly scoped, highly specialized instruments are then used to perform the surgery.

How Laparoscopy Benefits Our Patients

With laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon has enhanced visualization of the internal organs. High definition images allow the surgeon to view details undetected by the human eye, which ultimately leads to a safer surgery with better outcomes.

A major benefit of veterinary laparoscopic surgery to patients is a significant reduction in post op pain. A recent study in the American Veterinary Medical Association Journal demonstrated up to 65% less pain with laparoscopic versus traditional open incision spay.

Additional benefits to patients include the following:

  •      Reduces need for pain meds since post op pain is significantly less
  •      Lowers surgical risks
  •      Minimizes soft tissue trauma for faster less painful recovery
  •      Reduces anesthesia time for biopsies
  •      Reduces risk of hemorrhaging
  •      Decreases risk of infection
  •      Minimizes scarring
  •      Reduces blood loss

Ultimately, and simply put, laparoscopic surgery offers a gentle, fast, and minimally invasive surgical option for patients in need.

Veterinary Laparoscopy in Action

Since our patients don’t speak, diagnostic medicine can offer some unique challenges for veterinarians. Laparoscopy tackles those challenges head on by providing a method in which the vet can gain valuable diagnostic information via abdominal exploratory and organ biopsy, while minimizing discomfort to the patient.

Laparoscopic Procedures offered at Northpark Animal Hospital include:

  • Ovariectomy – an improved technique over traditional hysterectomies, in which only the ovaries are removed but the uterus remains intact
  • Gastropexy – a preventive surgical procedure in which the stomach is sutured to the inside body wall to prevent the stomach from being able to twist in dogs who are predisposed to a condition known as GDV (Gastric dilation-Volvulus), a.k.a. Bloat accompanied by twisting of the stomach
  • Organ biopsies – including the liver, pancreas, spleen, kidney and  lymph nodes
  • Abdominal exploratories – invaluable in regard to diagnostic understanding
  • Cryptorchid neuters – condition in which one or both testicles are retained internally

Veterinary laparoscopy is welcome news to pet owners desiring treatment and diagnostic options that are minimally invasive, have a shorter recovery period with less post-op pain, and offer better results for their pets. Likewise, it is a valuable tool to veterinarians desiring to offer the best quality care to their patients.

If you have any further questions about veterinary laparoscopy, please ask; we are happy to answer your questions.

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