Laparotomy is a surgical procedure that involves making an incision in the abdominal wall to gain access to the organs inside the abdominal cavity. This procedure is commonly performed in the surgical gastro department to treat a variety of conditions that affect the digestive system, such as cancer, bowel obstruction, and perforated ulcers. In this article, we will provide a detailed overview of laparotomy, including the procedure details and what patients can expect during the recovery process.

Indications for Laparotomy:

Laparotomy is indicated for a wide range of conditions that affect the abdominal organs. Some of the most common indications for this procedure include:

  1. Cancer of the colon, stomach, or pancreas
  2. Bowel obstruction
  3. Perforated ulcers
  4. Diverticulitis
  5. Trauma to the abdomen
  6. Endometriosis
  7. Abdominal abscesses

Preparation for Laparotomy:

Before undergoing laparotomy, patients will need to undergo a series of preoperative tests to ensure that they are healthy enough for the procedure. These tests may include blood work, imaging studies, and electrocardiograms. Patients may also be asked to fast for a period of time before the procedure.

During the Procedure:

Laparotomy is typically performed under general anesthesia, which means that patients will be completely asleep during the procedure. Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the surgeon will make an incision in the abdominal wall. The size and location of the incision will depend on the reason for the surgery.

Once the incision has been made, the surgeon will carefully explore the abdominal cavity to identify any abnormalities. Depending on the reason for the surgery, the surgeon may need to remove a portion of the intestine, repair a perforation, or biopsy a suspicious mass. In some cases, laparotomy may be combined with other procedures, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Recovery from Laparotomy:

After the surgery is complete, patients will be taken to a recovery room where they will be closely monitored by medical staff. Patients may experience some pain and discomfort after the procedure, which can usually be managed with pain medication. Most patients are able to begin eating and drinking within a day or two of the surgery, and are typically discharged from the hospital within 5 to 7 days.