Updated April 15, 2014
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.
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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