Laparotomy and Laparoscopy Surgery: What You Should Know

Laparotomy and laparoscopy are two types of surgical procedures performed in the abdominal cavity. Here are some essential things you should know about these surgical procedures. 

Difference Between Laparotomy and Laparoscopy Procedures

The primary differences between the two methods lie in the types of incision created and the surgical instruments used. Laparotomy is a traditional procedure that is also referred to as an "open" procedure. In this procedure, the surgeon makes a comparatively large incision through the skin and muscle of the abdomen that allows them to see various organs, tissues, and blood vessels. 

In the laparoscopy procedure, instead of making a large incision, the surgeon makes a small incision in the abdomen and uses a laparoscope. The device has a camera attached to the end of it that allows the surgeon to visualize the internal structures clearly on a screen and carry out the procedure. 

When Is a Laparotomy or Laparoscopy Procedure Preferred?

A laparotomy procedure is preferred when your surgeon wants to diagnose conditions like severe abdominal pain. When the exact cause of the pain is not known, your surgeon cannot pinpoint the area to do a laparoscopic procedure. In such cases, your abdomen needs to be opened up so that the doctor can examine each organ and properly diagnose the cause of your abdominal pain. Once the condition is diagnosed, it can be fixed at the same time, or in some cases, a second surgical procedure might be required to correct the problem. Keep in mind that you will need a longer recovery period, usually around six weeks, if you undergo laparotomy.

On the other hand, a laparoscopic procedure is performed when you have a previously diagnosed condition, such as an ovarian cyst. Since the surgeon knows exactly where to operate, there is no need to open up your entire abdomen. It is much easier to perform a laparoscopic procedure on your ovaries.

Advantages of a Laparoscopic Procedure

The main advantage of performing a laparoscopic procedure over laparotomy is that the size of the incision will be small, allowing for faster recovery time. Any discomfort that arises due to a laparoscopic procedure typically goes away in a couple of days. Usually, you can go back to your normal activities within a week. However, you need to follow-up with your surgeon after two weeks of the procedure to analyze your recovery.

Both laparoscopic and laparotomy surgical procedures carry certain benefits and risks. If you want to learn more about these procedures and their advantages and disadvantages, contact us.


Dr. Madhu Prasad, M.D., FACS

Dr. Madhu Prasad has over 30+ years of experience working as a general surgeon and surgical oncologist and providing the highest level of care in Anchorage, Alaska. He believes in providing quality care to patients and their families. Inspired by compassion and humanism, Dr. Prasad and his team work for the well-being of their patients.

Common Surgical Procedures

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