Laparoscopic Gastropexy

                                                       Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive technique for viewing the internal structures of the abdomen. A laparoscope (camera) inserted through a small incision in the abdominal wall magnifies the internal structures on a medical grade monitor. Surgical instrumentation is introduced through a working channel in the laparoscope, to allow surgical procedures to be carried out. Laparoscopy has been adopted as a surgical technique which reduces surgical trauma, is more precise and has significantly reduced recovery time when compared to traditional open surgeries.

 What’s a Gastropexy and why would my dog need one?

Stomach grasped with forceps prior to gastropexy.

Stomach grasped with forceps prior to gastropexy.

Many large breed dogs are at risk from a condition called Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) commonly known as bloat, or torsion. In GDV the stomach fills with gas and then rotates on its axis, cutting off its blood supply and rapidly leading to tissue necrosis and death. It is a true surgical emergency and although the prognosis is good with prompt and aggressive treatment, the outcome is often not what we would wish if there is any delay in treatment.

Most commonly affected breeds are Great Danes, Dobermans, Boxers and Standard Poodles, but all large and Giant Breeds including Great Pyrenees and Newfoundlands are at risk.

GDV can be largely prevented by a procedure called prophylactic gastropexy where (usually at time of spay or neuter) the stomach is stitched to the body wall to prevent it from rotating if it becomes filled with gas.

View of stomach pexied to abdominal wall. Shiney triangular structure in right centre is the diaphragm

View of stomach pexied to abdominal wall. Shiney triangular structure in right centre is the diaphragm

Okay so why don’t all Giant Breeds get a ‘Pexy?

Traditional Gastropexy surgery requires major abdominal surgery with an incision several inches long so that the surgeon can gain access to the stomach and body wall. It is a time consuming, and expensive procedure and more importantly has a longish recovery time with considerable post-operative pain and a period of exercise restriction.

Laparoscopic Gastropexy by contrast, is done through a primary 12mm laparoscopic incision plus another incision about 25mm long at the ‘pexy site. Post surgical pain and discomfort are substantially reduced and recovery time is minimal. Laparoscopic gastropexy can be done at time of neuter or Laparoscopic spay or as a stand-alone procedure. Ask one of our Doctors for further details.