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Laparotomy Basics

From the Treatment Alternatives Articles List

Laparotomy 101What is a laparotomy?

A laparotomy is a surgical procedure that allows a surgeon to diagnose and treat certain pelvic and abdominal conditions. This type of surgery is not considered a minimally invasive procedure and is done in a surgical center under anesthesia. Where and how big your incision is depends on why you are having the surgery. Reasons for a gynecologic laparotomy include endometriosis, fibroids, ectopic pregnancy, adhesions, oophorectomy, and ovarian cysts.

During the surgery, your surgeon can take biopsies as well as remove endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, and adhesions. In addition, the fallopian tubes, ovaries, appendix, or gall bladder can be removed. Hernias can also be repaired. Your surgeon may also check the health of surrounding organs and tissues.

Your incision may be closed with stitches or staples, or a smaller incision may be closed with steri-strips or surgical glue. You will likely be given a prescription for pain medications as well as a list of post-op restrictions. You may need to stay at least one night at the surgical center.

Recovery from a laparotomy can be between two to six weeks depending on the incision and what was done during the procedure. You could experience pain and tenderness during that time. You will need to be careful of the incision to prevent infection and keep it from opening. You can hold a pillow over it when coughing, using a seat belt, or rising from a chair. When showering, follow your doctor’s instructions for covering your incision.

Risks for a laparotomy include reaction to anesthesia or medications, bleeding, infection, organ damage, incisional hernia, or wound issues. If your incision is red, swollen, hot, or seeping, contact your doctor immediately. You should also call your doctor if you experience a fever or severe pain.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

03-24-2014 - 11:26 PM


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