WWhat is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive technique for viewing the internal structures of the abdominal cavity. Minimally invasive means minimal disruption of surrounding tissues and organs and minimising patient discomfort after surgery.
Laparoscopy in pooches
Laparoscopy can be performed on pets as well. The small incision size minimizes tissue trauma and pain as tissue is removed without tearing. Since there is better visualisation of surgical procedure, it minimises complications. Hence, your pet is back to normal much more quickly.
Where Laparoscopy can help
- Dog spay
- Major organ biopsy
- Bladder stone removal
- Gastropexy (to prevent gastric torsion)
- Cryptorchid neuter
- Nasal flushing/biopsy
- Ear examination/flushing
Dog spay: In laparoscopic dog spay, the procedure is performed through 2-3 small incisions in the abdomen, typically 5-10 mm in size. With the laparoscope, surgery is performed with magnified views of the organs, allowing for greater precision. The ovarian ligament is carefully cauterized and when appropriate, it is ligated (rather than torn). With laparoscopic spays, pooches undergo reduced pain, minimal recovery time and less trauma than traditional spays. Recovery is faster than conventional surgery. As incision is very small, healing is faster, and there are no chances of herniation or accidental removal of stitches by pet.
Another improvement in this procedure is the removal of only the ovaries. The ovariectomy procedure is even less traumatic to your pet when done laparoscopically. This will enable your pet to return to normal activities sooner, have less discomfort, and your pet will not usually need an E-collar.
Ear infections: Laparoscopically ear canal can be examined and small ear canal ulcers, foreign body in ear like grass blade, ectoparasites, etc can be viewed. Ear canal flushing can be done properly under general anaesthesia. Besides, ear tumours and stenosis can also be diagnosed by laparoscopically.
Laparoscopic cryptorchidectomy: Removal of un-descended testicle/testicles can be done laparoscopically. Laparoscopic cryptorchidectomy in dogs is not only markedly less invasive than traditional open surgery, but very often much faster and easier for the veterinary surgeon, as the testicle is much easier to locate. The patient undergoes less pain, quick recovery and can go home the same day. If there is accidental attachment of testicle with other internal organs, it can be viewed laparoscopically and treated accordingly.
Gastric volvulus and dilation (GDV) or bloat: Gastric volvulus and dilation (GDV) or bloat is a common life-threatening condition that affects many large breeds of dogs like Great Danes, Irish Wolf Hounds, German Shepherds, Standard Poodles, Blood Hounds and even Labradors. This condition involves distension of the stomach usually with gas and twisting of the stomach. Rather than waiting until the life-threatening condition occurs, a preventative minimally invasive procedure is now available for your pet.
A procedure called a gastropexy can be done to tack the right side of the stomach to the right side of the body wall using minimally invasive surgery. A scope is inserted into the belly cavity and an instrument port is made on the front right side of the abdomen and the right side of the stomach is picked up with a laparoscopic instrument. The instrument port incision is enlarged to one and half inches and the stomach is sutured to the right body wall.
Benefits of the laparoscopic surgery over open surgery
- Shorter surgery and anaesthesia time
- Minimally invasive
- Two small incisions therefore less scaring
- Less pain
- Quicker recovery
- Prevents life-threatening twist of stomach
- Less expensive than treating life-threatening GDV
- Patient can go home on the day of the procedure
However, laparoscopic surgeries cost a little more due to the additional training required by the doctor and the significant investment in equipments including the scopes, video monitors, ports, and specially designed laparoscopic instruments.
(Dr Narendra Pardeshi is a veterinary laparoscopic surgeon practicing at Pune-based Small Animal Clinic over the last 10 years. He can be contacted at: email@example.com).