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Also known as Keyhole Surgery

Berry House Vets now offers a Laparoscopy Service at our Hitchin Branch. Many conditions and diseases in people are treated using minimally invasive surgery and this is increasingly becoming the case in our dogs and cats too. Bitch Spays are idea for this technique.

What is Laparoscopy?

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive way of performing surgery, often referred to as “Keyhole Surgery”.

Traditional abdominal surgery involves making a long (10-20cm) incision into the abdominal cavity and the surgeon placing their hands and instruments into the abdomen to perform the procedure.

Laparoscopic surgery differs because we create 2-3 small incisions (0.5-1cm) in the abdominal cavity and introduce a camera, which allows us to see what we are doing and instruments that allow us to perform the procedure. By reducing the size of the wound and not placing our hands or large bulky instruments into the abdomen, we significantly reduce the trauma and pain associated with abdominal surgery.

Using a camera to guide the surgeon also has benefits as the surgeon can watch what is happening on a TV monitor, the organs are magnified and viewed under bright light – so we get a really accurate image of what is happening. We can also access parts of the abdomen that are otherwise difficult to get to, and perform a more thorough exploration of the abdomen than with traditional surgery.

What are the benefits of Laparoscopic Bitch Spay?

  • The dog only needs to be restricted for the first 24 hours, compared with 10 days for a traditional spay.
  • Laparoscopic surgery has repeatedly been shown to be 60-65% less painful than traditional surgery across a variety of procedures in humans, horses, dogs and cats.
  • There are fewer intra-operative and post-operative complications compared with traditional surgery. This is because there is better visualisation of the surgery by the surgeon; the wounds are smaller and require minimal aftercare compared with a traditional surgery.

Are there any complications?

One of the benefits of laparoscopic surgery is its relative safety compared with traditional surgery. However, like all surgical procedures, things can and do go wrong, even when performed correctly by an experienced surgeon. The most common complications are to do with the two small access wounds, some dogs will bruise, swell or have the wounds open up. In the majority of cases no treatment is required and the problem will settle with time. In a very small number of dogs (<1%) the procedure may need to be converted to a traditional open procedure. This is for patient safety and most usually occurs because bleeding has occurred which cannot be controlled laparoscopically. As patient safety is our primary concern, we will always do what is best for the patient in front of us and if that means abandoning our plan for a laparoscopic procedure, then that is what we will do.

Other procedures that can be performed using Laparoscopic surgery

  • Retained testicle castration
  • Aid to diagnosis of liver, pancreas and bladder conditions
  • Tumour investigation/removal
  • Intestinal foreign body removal

For any further information or advice about Laparoscopy, please do not hesitate to contact your local practice to speak to one of our staff.