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Alternative namesLaparotomy; Exploratory laparotomy
DefinitionAbdominal exploration is a type of surgery where the abdomen is opened (laparotomy) and explored (exploratory laparotomy) for examination and treatment of problems.
The abdomen contains many vital organs:
Some problems inside the abdomen can be easily diagnosed with noninvasive tests such as X-rays and CT scans , but many problems require surgery to "explore" the abdomen to obtain an accurate diagnosis.
While the patient is under general anesthesia, the surgeon makes an incision into the abdomen and examines the abdominal organs. The size and location of the incision depends on the clinical situation. Tissue samples ( biopsies ) can be taken and diseased areas can be treated.
When the procedure is complete, the incision is closed.
Exploratory laparotomy may be recommended for diagnosis when there is abdominal disease from an unknown cause.
Diseases that may be discovered by exploratory laparotomy include the following:
This surgery may also be used to determine the extent of certain cancers, such as Hodgkin's lymphoma .
RisksRisks for any anesthesia include the following:
Expectations after surgeryThe outcome from the surgery depends upon the findings.
ConvalescenceEating and drinking normally can usually resume two to three days after the surgery. Hospital stays vary with the severity of the underlying problem. Complete recovery usually takes about four weeks.
Update Date: 12/30/2002Hebe Molmenti, M.D., Ph.D., Private Practice specializing in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT