Laparotomy is a surgical procedure that is done by making an incision in the lower abdomen. This allows the surgeon to see and inspect the abdominal cavity for structural problems, sites of
endometriosis(implants), and scar tissue ( adhesions). The surgeon can then remove implants and adhesions. The surgeon can also correct structural problems that interfere with an organ's normal function, such as removing adhesions from the bowel wall.
Many of the procedures that required a laparotomy in the past can now be done with
laparoscopy, which uses a smaller incision. Ask your surgeon why laparotomy is required.
- General anesthesia is usually used.
- The hospital stay varies from 2 to 4 days.
- You will likely be able to return to normal activities in 3 to 4 weeks.
Laparotomy is a likely treatment for moderate to severe
chronic female pelvic painwhen:
- Sites of endometriosis (implants) and scar tissue (adhesions):
- Cannot be removed by laparoscopy.
- Are interfering with the normal function of other abdominal organs, such as the bowels or bladder.
- A large ovarian cyst is present and scar tissue has formed around the cyst and a fallopian tube.
- There is concern that an ovarian cyst might mean the presence of ovarian cancer.
A laparotomy is usually required to remove:
- Sites of endometriosis (implants) and scar tissue (adhesions) that:
- Bind one segment of bowel to another segment or to other structures in the pelvis.
- Have penetrated deeply into an abdominal organ and cannot be safely removed by laparoscopy.
- Large sites of scar tissue (adhesions).
- Nerves, for pain control (presacral neurectomy).
Surgery for chronic female pelvic pain should be limited to the treatment of surgically correctable problems.
- Pain may not be controlled or may get worse.
- Scar tissue (adhesions) may form at the surgical site, on the ovaries or fallopian tubes, or in the pelvis.
Current as of: April 19, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff (https://www.healthwise.org/specialpages/legal/abouthw/en)
Clinical Review Board (https://www.healthwise.org/mdreviewboard.aspx?lang=en)
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