Exploratory laparotomy

Exploratory Laparotomy is surgery that is done with the purpose of opening, exploring, and examining to treat problems in the abdomen. There are two types of laparotomy, simple and exploratory.


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  • 1 What is an exploratory laparotomy?
  • 2 Why is an Exploratory Laparotomy Needed?
  • 3 Health problems to diagnose through Laparotomy
  • 4 How the Exploratory Laparotomy is performed
  • 5 Pre-operative care
    • 1 Physical assessment
    • 2 Functional assessment
  • 6 Source

What is an exploratory laparotomy?

Exploratory laparotomy is surgery to look inside the abdomen (belly). It is usually done to look for problems that were not diagnosed by other tests.

Why is an Exploratory Laparotomy Needed?

This can be recommended when you have very prolonged abdominal pain, you have affected the organs of the abdomen or pelvis, it is not a suitable candidate for a laparoscopic procedure.

Health problems to diagnose through Laparotomy

Exploratory laparotomy can be used to help diagnose and treat many health problems, such as: Ovarian, colon, pancreas, liver cancer. Endometriosis Gallstones Hole in the intestine (intestinal perforation) Inflammation of the appendix Scar tissue in the abdomen.

How the Exploratory Laparotomy is performed

An exploratory laparotomy is done while the patient is under general anesthesia, the surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen, and examines the abdominal organs. The size and location of the incision depends on the clinical situation. They can treat affected areas and take tissue samples (biopsy).

Pre-operative care

The so-called surgical risk must be assessed, which is evaluated taking into account factors such as:

Physical assessment

Control of pre-existing chronic diseases and assessment of basic complementary tests such as laboratory tests, lung radiographs and electrocardiograms, or other more specific ones, such as respiratory function tests, etc.

Functional assessment

Knowing how the patient performs his basic and instrumental activities prior to surgery will give a lot of information about how the surgery will be endured and set realistic recovery goals.


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