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The Pros and Cons of a Laparotomy Versus an Operative Laparoscopy

The Pros and Cons of a Laparotomy Versus an Operative Laparoscopy

Primary Differences Between a Laparotomy and an Operative Laparoscopy

Laparotomy and operative laparoscopy both play important roles in treating women’s health issues. The primary differences between the two procedures are the type of incision created and the tools used to complete each procedure. Laparotomy is similar to many other general surgical procedures and involves creating an incision to open the patient and remove diseased tissue or organs. In a laparoscopic procedure, the surgeon makes a very small incision and inserts a rigid scope into the pelvic area to view the patient’s organs and treat identified issues. Below is a look at some of the top advantages of laparoscopy and the types of reproductive problems it can correct.

Key Benefits of Operative Laparoscopy

Operative laparoscopy continues to increase in popularity due to the wide range of benefits the procedure offers when compared to laparotomy. Originally designed to help diagnose conditions and treat tubal ligations, laparoscopy is now routinely used to treat an extensive collection of gynecologic issues. Below are three of the most well-known benefits of operative laparoscopy:

1) Increased Patient Safety

Like any surgical procedure, laparoscopy carries some risks. However, serious complications are rare, especially when compared to laparotomy. Patients undergoing laparotomy are at an increased risk for an incisional hernia, bleeding, and injury to internal organs.

2) A Shorter Recovery Period

“Generally speaking, laparoscopic surgery involves less postoperative pain and a shorter recovery than laparotomy and is often performed as an outpatient surgery.”

– FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered

The prospect of a shorter recovery is alluring to many women who cannot afford to take time away from their familial and professional responsibilities. While laparotomy surgery typically requires several days in the hospital and a wait of up to six weeks before engaging in physical activity, laparoscopic surgery usually does not require a hospital stay and patients can return to physical activity faster.

3) Affordability

The costs of laparoscopic surgery are significantly lower than the costs of laparotomy. This is primarily because patients do not have to pay for a prolonged hospital stay. Additionally, they can return to work and regular activities faster, enabling them to continue to earn a living after surgery.

What Reproductive Problems can be Corrected Through Laparoscopy?

“More than 3 decades after the introduction of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and despite the improved success rates of assisted reproductive technologies, the argument for performing laparoscopy as a part of the infertility workup still stands.”

– International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine

While IVF and other fertility treatments continue to gain popularity, laparoscopy has become commonplace at many medical facilities across the globe as a means of addressing reproductive issues.  Below are five reproductive problems that can be corrected through laparoscopy:

  • Removing adhesions from fallopian tubes and the ovaries
  • Removing ovarian cysts and fibroids
  • Opening blocked fallopian tubes
  • Treating ectopic pregnancies
  • Treating tubo-ovarian abscesses

“Although management of TOA consists of conservative medical treatment with antibiotics, it is now widely accepted that surgical intervention should be pursued early after the diagnosis. Open laparoscopy seems to be a good alternative to traditional laparotomy in managing these patients.”

– C. Yang, P. Chen, J. Tseng, and P. Wang, Journal of American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists

In addition to aiding in these reproductive issues, laparoscopy can help identify reproductive issues that were not known to a patient. For instance, a surgeon may perform laparoscopic surgery to correct another type of problem in the pelvic area and discover a cyst on the patient’s ovaries. In such cases, the nature of laparoscopy allows the surgeon to remove the cyst during the surgical procedure.

Which Procedure is More Invasive?

“One benefit of laparoscopy is that it is minimally invasive. That means it uses a very small cut in the belly. Laparoscopy usually takes less time and has a faster recovery than open surgery.”

 Johns Hopkins Medicine 

While laparoscopic surgery still involves making an incision in patients, laparoscopy is significantly less invasive than laparotomy because it does not involve open surgery. Rather than being left with a large incision, patients are often left with a tiny scar that is hardly visible to the eye. Accordingly, patients are able to return to their regular activities much faster.

How Can a Laparotomy be Helpful in Dangerous Circumstances?

Portrait of happy woman surgeon standing in operating room, ready to work on a patient. Female medical worker in surgical uniform in operation theater.

“…Compared to laparotomy there is a higher risk of injury to the major blood vessels positioned in the pelvis and the urinary system, and that is why patients considered to be subjected to laparoscopy should be carefully chosen.”

– A. Daniilidis, P. Hatzis, G. Pratilas, P.D. Loufopoulos, and K. Dinas, University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

While laparoscopy is not considered to be a high-risk procedure for most women, there are circumstances in which the procedure could be dangerous. For instance, if you have scar tissue from a previous abdominal surgery then laparoscopy could be dangerous. Additionally, the size of the patient’s ovarian cysts can make laparoscopy more challenging.

Which Procedure is More Effective in Treating Uterine or Endometrial Cancer?

“Surgery for endometrial cancer using laparoscopy seems to be just as good as more traditional open procedures if done by a surgeon who has a lot of experience in laparoscopic cancer surgeries.”

– The American Cancer Society Medical and Editorial Content Team

Uterine cancer, also known as endometrial cancer, is one of the most common types of cancers affecting women. Early detection and treatment are essential to a full recovery, highlighting the need to select the most effective mode of treatment. There are three general approaches to treating uterine cancer: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Laparoscopic surgery is commonly selected because it involves the complete removal of the cancerous uterus and ovaries. Additionally, patients do not have to take nausea-inducing chemotherapy or endure a lengthy hospital stay.

The Bottom Line

Laparotomies and laparoscopic operations each carry a unique collection of benefits and risks. To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of these two procedures, we invite you to contact us. As a global leader in the single-use medical device industry, obp strives to remain abreast of the latest cutting-edge medical treatments. We look forward to hearing from you!

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