Health Lifestyle

What is Laparotomy

There’s a difference between a disease free person and a healthy person. When we say a person is disease free it doesn’t imply that he/ she is healthy. There are so many complications that can lead to bad health. As the old proverb says “ Health is wealth” it is necessary to treat any complications, discomfort, and disease. Early diagnosis leads to early treatment. Diagnosis is done by various types of diagnostic methods. The most commonly opted methods are generally non- invasive. In severe complications, invasive methods are implied.

Laparotomy is an old diagnostic technique. This technique is also known as coeliotomy. It is a single incision surgery of the abdomen. Laparotomy is used to examine the abdomen region mainly. This procedure is an important diagnostic tool. It is used to identify the internal complications which are not visible by other diagnostic tests. 

Laparotomy and laparoscopy

There is confusion among people between these two terms.  Many individuals misinterpret their meaning or use them interchangeably. Laparoscopy and laparotomy are not the same things. Laparotomy is an old diagnostic procedure. It is sometimes also called open surgery. This procedure involves a wide incision in the abdomen region to overview the functioning of vital organs. This technique is implied only in selected cases and leaves a scar. The healing time is also longer.

On the other hand, laparoscopy is a new technique. It is better because the incision is small. It’s more like multiple punctures in the abdomen. In this technique, a microscopic device is sent inside the abdomen which can show the images of internal vital organs and their functioning. This is a modified approach. It also leaves a scar but the size is considerably small. Complications are also reduced in laparoscopy. This is preferred over laparotomy by medical experts whenever possible.

About the Procedure

When any patient hears the word surgery there is a sense of fear. What if the surgery went wrong? Firstly, there is a notion that every surgery is life threatening which is completely wrong. Laparotomy in most cases is safe although there are some exceptions where it can be severe. The procedure involves a trained surgeon. This is a painful procedure, therefore, local anesthesia is given to the patient. Anesthesia which is given only in the region of surgery is called local anesthesia. The only purpose of anesthesia is to provide the patient with a pain-free surgery. The incision is then made in the abdomen area to expose the vital organs. This procedure makes it clear to find out any internal damage. This procedure provides a clear internal view of liver, intestines, kidney, female and male reproductive organs. 

This procedure is very commonly performed on females in case of childbirth. When there are complications during childbirth, this technique is adopted. In this case, the incision is focused on the uterus.  

This procedure is mostly safe. It takes approximately 2- 6 weeks to recover from this procedure. The scar however maybe for a lifetime. Doctors sometimes recommend specific products to be used upon the scar. Special care is required until complete recovery. All the activities that put a strain on the abdomen area are temporarily required to shut down. Regular check-ups are appointed by the doctors to assure proper recovery.

Reasons to Perform laparotomy

There are different reasons behind laparotomy. The cases of emergency are one major reason. While there’s an emergency, there is no time to perform other diagnostic tests as they may take a longer duration to give proper results. This is not suitable in case of emergencies. The immediate need to treat a patient generally leads to laparotomy. It’s the easiest and quickest way to find the damage that’s been done to vital organs. 

Another reason for laparotomy is internal bleeding. There are certain injuries that lead to internal pain and discomfort but on the outer surface, everything seems fine. In these cases, the condition worsens quickly and is very dangerous. An urgent need to find the problem and remove it from its core is important. 

Some organs can’t be tested via other diagnostic techniques like ultrasound. Intestine and stomach have air movements. There is also a body cavity. These air movement and body cavity makes it hard for an ultrasound to work perfectly. Therefore the results do not reflect the actual problem. 

In the case of pancreatitis, the ultrasound reports are never as reliable as laparotomy. Although laparotomy is only recommended in case of severe pain and complications. Spleen removal is also done by this procedure. Spleen is removed in case of trauma or inflammation. These conditions are commonly found in patients who have a drinking problem. 


Every procedure has its side- effects. Surgery may not always be life threatening but it most certainly has side effects. Some of the most commonly seen complications that arise after surgery are as follows: 

  • Pus formation – This is common after surgery is proper care is not taken. Proper rest is recommended after the surgery. If there is overexertion or pressure on the abdomen area, pus formation occurs. It is also seen that sometimes the body’s immunity starts targeting the scar leading to pus formation.
  • Bleeding – This is also seen due to overexertion. When too much pressure is applied to the wound it starts to stretch. The wound is still in the process of healing and hence is vulnerable. Even too much coughing can impact the wound. Physical workout is totally and strictly prohibited.
  • Surgical Hernia – If there is a bulge inside the spot of the incision after the surgery and it is painful to touch, it is called a surgical hernia. This is due to the growth of inner muscles protruding outwards. This condition is painful that is why after a careful observation a suitable spot for the incision is chosen.
  • Damage to internal organs – In rare cases there might be slight damage to the internal organs during the procedure. As the procedure involves examining the internal organs for any kind of discomfort or disease, there might be a need to use surgical objects upon the internal organs. This can slightly damage the organs sometimes.
  • Bowel blockage – Surgical procedure leads to a problem in bowel movements. There might be gastric issues or other complications that lead to this side- effect. Medical experts provide substitutes to eliminate this issue.

Post Surgery Precautions

To avoid any more complications after the surgery it is recommended to follow certain precautions. Some of these precautions include taking proper rest until recommended. Avoiding any stress on the area of the procedure. Avoiding lifting heavy weights or exercises. Taking a proper recommended diet. Medications are prescribed post-surgery. It should be ensured that they are taken on time. 

In case of any inflammation, the patient must be taken to the doctor immediately. The inflammation may be due to pus formation or other complications. 

Family and friends need to be aware of the precautions and help the patient go through the process. Every process becomes easy if someone is there to support through it. Moral support may be needed by patients at times. Following all the directions will lead to a smooth laparotomy. The procedure demands regular post-surgery check-ups. It is important to visit for check-ups. Health must be a priority in any scenario. Take time out from the busy schedule and focus on being healthy first.

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