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What Is an Exploratory Laparotomy Surgery?


Updated June 25, 2014

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Reasons For Laparotomy
Reasons For a Laparotomy Image

Reasons For Laparotomy

Image: © ADAM

Reasons For a Laparotomy

A laparotomy is the general name for a surgical procedure performed on the abdomen. The term exploratory laparotomy is often used to describe a procedure that is being used to determine the nature of an illness. For example, if a patient is having abdominal pain and the source of that pain is not clear, the surgeon will schedule an exploratory laparotomy.

Common Reasons For a Laparotomy:

Large and Small Intestine: A perforation in the intestine, blockage of the intestine, cancer

Liver: Trauma, cirrhosis, liver enlargement

Urinary System-Kidneys, Ureters and Bladder: Blockages, cancer, trauma

Female Reproductive System: Endometriosis, cancer, ectopic pregnancy, inflammation

Gallbladder: Typically done using the minimally invasive approach, in rare circumstances it may be removed using this open technique

Spleen: Trauma, spleen enlargement, rupture

Pancreas: Inflammation of the pancreas, cancer

General abdominal complaints: Infections such as an abscess, cancer, trauma, inflammation of tissues, to determine the stage of a disease process, adhesions from previous procedures

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