Laparotomy surgery is a medical procedure during which doctors perform a large abdominal cut in order to gain access to patient’s internal organs. Laparotomy procedure was once a very common diagnostic method. However, in the advent of modern diagnostic procedures such as laparoscopy, the importance and prevalence of laparotomy surgery in diagnostics has dwindled.
Still, it doesn’t mean that laparotomy incision stopped to be popular. It is performed as part of other surgeries, including abdominal hysterectomy, stomach, liver, bowel surgeries and others. It also is used as a diagnostic tool from time to time.
Currently, we can divide laparotomy procedures into 3 major types:
• Exploratory laparotomy – diagnostic laparotomy, performed in search of medical issues impossible to detect with other methods or invisible due to the lack of proper equipment
• Emergency laparotomy – doctors often decide to perform laparotomy for abdominal pain. They hope to quickly find sources of abdominal pain and deal with them
• Laparotomy procedure as a part of bigger surgery – laparotomy may be the first step in a medical procedure such as operation on stomach, bowels or other internal organs
Laparotomy vs Laparoscopy
Laparotomy constantly loses its position as a diagnostic tool and operation method to laparoscopy procedure. It is so primarily because of laparoscopy recovery time being shorter than laparotomy recovery time. Additionally, laparoscopic surgery involves 3 or more small cuts, while laparotomy incision creates a one, long laparotomy scar.
Still, some diseases and medical conditions cannot be solved through laparoscopic surgery and old school laparotomy surgery becomes necessary. Additionally, if laparoscopy procedure goes wrong and leads to complications, doctors often decide to continue the surgery through a laparotomy incision.