- Kidney and ureters
- Uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries (in women)
Surgery that opens the abdomen is called a laparotomy.
Exploratory laparotomy is done while you are under general anesthesia, which means you are asleep and feel no pain.
The surgeon makes a cut into the abdomen and examines the abdominal organs. The size and location of the surgical cut depends on the specific health concern.
A biopsy can be taken during the procedure.
Laparoscopy describes a group of procedures that are performed with a camera placed in the abdomen. If possible, laparoscopy will be done instead of laparotomy.
Why the Procedure is Performed
Your doctor may recommend a laparatomy if imaging tests of the abdomen, such as x-rays and CT scans , have not provided an accurate diagnosis.
Exploratory laparotomy may be used to help diagnose and treat many health conditions, including:
- Cancer of the ovary, colon, pancreas, liver
- Hole in the intestine (intestinal perforation)
- Inflammation of the appendix (acute appendicitis)
- Inflammation of an intestinal pocket (diverticulitis)
- Inflammation of the pancreas (acute or chronic pancreatitis)
- Liver abscess
- Pockets of infection (retroperitoneal abscess, abdominal abscess, pelvic abscess)
- Pregnancy outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy)
- Scar tissue in the abdomen (adhesions)
Risks of any anesthesia include the following:
- Severe medication reaction
- Problems breathing
Risks of any surgery include the following:
- Damage to nearby structures
Additional risks include incisional hernia.
You should be able to start eating and drinking normally about 2 – 3 days after the surgery. How long you stay in the hospital depends on the severity of the problem. Complete recovery usually takes about 4 weeks.
Laparotomy; Exploratory laparotomy
Martin RS, Meredith JW. Management of acute trauma. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 18.
Squires RA, Postier RG. Acute abdomen. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 47.