Oct 18 2014

Laparoscopic Surgery – The Next Big Thing in Veterinary Medicine

Blue Cross Animal Hospital Laparoscopic Surgery

Laparoscopy….Not just for people anymore

Laparoscopic surgery, has gained huge popularity as a minimally invasive surgery in the world of human medicine. Many people have had a laparoscopic procedure themselves or know someone who has. Gallbladder removal, appendectomies and many different abdominal surgeries are now performed this way. This minimally invasive technique has now moved over into the veterinary world. At Blue Cross Animal Hospital, we are one of the few clinics in Las Vegas that is offering laparoscopic procedures.

What is Laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is done by making a very small incision and inserting a laparoscope or camera in to the abdominal cavity. The abdomen is then filled up with carbon dioxide (a safe, absorbable gas) to easily see all the organs in the abdomen. The images are magnified and viewed on a monitor in the surgery suite. Structures can be easily examined, and if need be, biopsies can be taken. With some procedures no extra incisions may be needed. Even if additional entries or ports are needed they are only one-quarter to one-half inch incisions.

So, how does this affect my dog?

So, what is the big excitement about this advance moving into the veterinary world? Very small incisions decrease postoperative pain, risk of infection, and speed recovery time. Where a traditional incision to do a liver biopsy would be at least six inches on a 40-50 pound dog, a one-half inch incision can give you excellent visualization of the abdomen and multiple liver biopsies. The camera has magnification so that even the tiniest amount of bleeding can be observed and monitored post biopsy.

Spays involve bluntly breaking down the pet’s suspensory ligament which can be painful. In a laparoscopic assisted spay the ligament is cauterized and then sharply cut. During surgery this is noticeable as there is no/little increase in patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate. These vital signs often increase during a traditional spay. A recent study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association showed that laparoscopic assisted spays offered up to 65% less pain* than the traditional open spay.

Another great use for laparoscopy is to do gastropexies, a permanent tacking of the stomach to the body wall. This is a procedure that prevents gastric dilatation and volvulus, GDV, a potentially fatal condition that occurs in primarily large deep-chested dogs. Again, the typical incision length would be greater than 6-8 inches, but laparoscopically assisted it can be 1-2 incisions one-half to 2 inches in length.

Cryptorchid testicles that have not descended from the abdomen are a breeze to find with laparoscopy as well. The incisions are several inches long. The surgery time can be extensive while trying to locate a testicle in the abdomen. With laparoscopy, the testicle can rapidly be located and removed. (The author has found this technique to be particularly useful for this problem.)

Blue Cross Animal Hospital

Blue Cross Animal Hospital is happy to be one of the few clinics in the Las Vegas area to offer this advanced surgical technique. The staff of Blue Cross Animal Hospital is happy to answer any questions you may have about laparoscopy or any other service we offer.

*Devitt, Chad DVM, MS DACVS. “Duration, Complication, Stress and Pain of Open Ovariohysterectomy Versus a Simple Method of Laparoscopic-Assisted Ovariohysterectomies in Dogs.” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Volume 227, Number 6 (September 15, 2005).

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