The most common form of laparoscopic neutering performed in female animals is an ovariectomy. This is where only the ovaries are surgically removed, and the uterus is left behind. This procedure renders the animal sterile, and females that have been neutered by this method are at less risk of post-operative complications (such as haemorrhage) than those that have had a full ovariohysterectomy by conventional open surgery (the removal of the ovaries and uterus). Keyhole spays also allow a close inspection of the whole abdomen, which is not possible in an open spay (where almost none of the abdominal contents can be seen), and tissue handling is much more delicate and less traumatic.
A full ovariohysterectomy is only performed if visual inspection of the uterus reveals any areas of concern for the veterinary surgeon.
In both cases, the patient is left with wounds that are significantly smaller (and therefore less painful or traumatic) than the wound needed to perform an ‘open’ neutering. There are two small wounds in a keyhole spay of 3 to 5mm instead of the normal open spay wound of 60 to 70mm. This means that the post-operative recovery time is shorter compared to that of the ‘open’ method, less in the way of post-operative pain medication is needed, and that there is a much shorter period of restriction of exercise.
Although a routine castration is a relatively minor surgical procedure, in cases where one (or both) of the testicles are retained in the abdomen – called cryptorchidism – laparoscopy offers the gold-standard level of surgical treatment.
Using a laparoscopic approach, surgeons need only make tiny incisions to introduce special instruments and cameras into the abdominal cavity. Due to the high picture quality and level of magnification provided by the equipment, retained testicles are easy to locate, and can then be removed in a minimally traumatic fashion. A patient that has undergone a laparoscopic/laparoscopic-assisted correction for cryptorchidism may well only have an incision that is a 10m to 15mm long, versus the incision needs for an exploratory laparotomy, which may be around 100mm long
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