Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique, which uses a small instrument called a laparoscope to view the internal structures of the abdomen. This means that the procedure can be performed through between one and three small incisions in the abdomen (3-12mm in length) depending on the size of your pet. This contrasts to the much larger 50-80mm incision used in a traditional spay.
In a traditional spay, once the incision is made, the ovarian ligament is detached from the abdominal wall by tearing. This can cause bruising to your pet’s abdominal wall and postoperative pain. In some cases your pet may be required to stay overnight. Your pet’s womb and both ovaries are removed in a traditional spay. The incision takes up to two weeks to heal, and during this time the healing scar is vulnerable to infection, or to your pet tearing open her stitches.
In contrast, in a laparoscopic spay, the laparoscope (tiny camera) magnifies the internal structures of the abdomen and displays the image on a monitor, allowing for greater precision and fewer complications. The magnified view of the ovarian ligament allows the vet to carefully cut and cauterize. This greatly reduces the pain your pet would experience from bruising caused by tearing the ligament. Following a laparoscopic spay, your pet will usually be sent home the same day, with her small incisions sutured closed.
Spaying your pet laparoscopically aims to cause her less trauma, faster healing, and according to the Journal of the Veterinary Medical Association, results in up to 65% less postoperative pain.
To further reduce surgical trauma and pain, when performing a laparoscopic spay we remove only the ovaries, leaving behind the womb. This has been shown to be both safe and effective, but it is not feasible in a traditional spay.
In larger breed, deep chested dogs, a simple additional procedure called a gastropexy can be added during a laparoscopic spay. This aims to prevent the risk of gastric torsion, which is a life threatening condition, occurring in 6% of large and giant breed dogs (rising to as much as 39% in Great Danes).
If you have any further questions about laparoscopic surgery, please call us on 020 7794 1777.