77 High Street, Purton
Swindon, SN5 4AB
T: 01793 771869
Bath Road, Cricklade, Swindon, SN6 6AT
T: 01793 751698
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Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery
Laparoscopy is commonly known as keyhole surgery. The surgeon makes a few tiny incisions then performs surgery from outside the body while watching on a screen.
The most common procedure performed is spaying dogs and we only spay dogs this way as traditional surgery has so many disadvantages for the patient and surgeon.
Retained testicle removal - the keyhole procedure has huge benefits over traditional surgery which frequently requires large painful wounds.
Gastropexy - attaching the stomach to the body wall to prevent a twisted stomach. This is a common problem in large breed dogs and 40% of Great Danes get twisted stomachs which is frequently fatal.
Stomach and intestinal foreign body removal - this keyhole approach requires the stomach or intestine to be exteriorised through the body wall. There is less contamination of the abdomen and smaller wounds.
Biopsy of kidney, liver, pancreas and intestine.
Keyhole assisted cystotomy - the bladder is opened and explored without the need for large wounds.
Performed by experienced surgeons only.
Safer surgery as the surgeon can see far more detail than can be seen trying to peer through a hole in the abdomen from the outside.
Much less painful. Comparing dogs that have had traditional surgery vs keyhole surgery has shown that the keyhole surgery dogs are 70% more active in the 3 days after surgery because they feel less pain.
A quick recovery with a faster return to normal exercise.
Small wounds (3mm to 10mm) that heal fast with a lower risk of hernia formation.
Less internal trauma and usually no bleeding at all.
The ability to inspect the internal organs. The image is clear and magnified so more detail is seen and areas of the abdomen are examined that would not be possible with traditional surgery.
What types of surgery can be done with via keyhole?
What are the benefits of keyhole surgery?
What is laparoscopic surgery?
The video below shows what happens inside the body during a keyhole spay (but don't watch if you are squeamish)
Surgeons who have not experienced laparoscopic keyhole surgery can often see no benefit. I used to be one of them. As an experienced surgeon I would make small open incisions (wounds) anyway, sometimes only a few inches long. I thought the patient would feel the same level of pain in traditional surgery as making a few small keyhole incisions. It is only by being able to compare the techniques that I realised how wrong I was.
In my opinion keyhole surgery is so much safer and less painful for the patient that we have stopped performing traditional open spays because we cannot justify putting dogs through the pain of open surgery when we have a better way.
Two small keyhole incisions hurt less than one larger open incision but by far the most important point is that the ovary does not have to get pulled out through the belly button, so there is no tearing of ligaments or stretching and pulling on internal tissue. It's this stretching and tearing that causes pain, bleeding and complications. The surgeon has to seal blood vessels with knots by hand and these can slip causing life threatening bleeding. The surgeon cannot see the knot easily and check for bleeding as it springs back inside alongside the spine. With traditional surgery there is often significant bleeding.
With keyhole surgery there are no knots, the blood vessels are sealed with heat and there is no tearing or stretching of tissue. This means that there is no bleeding at all in most cases.
It costs the practice more to provide this service than we recover from having higher spay prices. We subsidise this surgery because we want to provide our clients and their pets with an advanced, safe and less painfull form of surgery.
Why is the traditional open bitch spay surgery no longer recommended?
A camera inserted through a 5mm diameter port.
A operating instrument inserted through a 10mm port on the right and the camera on the left. Notice the lack of bleeding.
The end result of what can be seen outside the body. Compare this to a picture of an open procedure below where the surgeon is trying to ligate a vessel. The ovary has been pulled out through the belly button area and is clamped. Trying to tie a knot under the clamp is difficult.
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