Laparoscopic Spay

What is Laparoscopy?

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.

Why should I choose a Laparoscopic Spay for my dog?

Traditional spays are conducted through a mid-line abdominal incision which is often 5cm or more in length. During the procedure the ovarian ligament has to be stretched and ultimately torn from the body wall, causing internal bruising and post-operative pain. There is also significant tension placed on the ovaries and uterus during removal which also causes post operative pain and discomfort.

At Riverside we much prefer to perform laparoscopic spays. A laparoscopic spay is performed through a single 12mm incision, using a rigid endoscope called a laparoscope. The Ovarian ligament is not stretched but is instead cauterized and cut in situ using a special endoscopic tool called an endoblade. Laparoscopic surgery allows much better visualization of the internal organs without disturbing them, and independent studies have shown that dogs spayed laparoscopically suffer 65% less pain and have a far shorter recovery time than traditional Spays.

Laparoscopic Ovariectomy. The endoblade is shown transecting the ovarian pedicle.

Laparoscopic Ovariectomy. The endoblade is shown transecting the ovarian pedicle.

 Okay, my pet is going to have a Laparoscopic Spay, What should I expect?

The first thing you will notice is that Laparoscopic Spays have a very small incision (10 to 12mm) but quite a large surgical clip. The larger surgical clip is necessary to make sure the surgeon has a sterile surgical field on your pet’s flank. During the procedure the ovary on either side is held still using a needle and suture placed directly through the body wall. The advantage of Laparoscopic spay is that only tiny incisions are made in the body wall and there is no tearing of abdominal structures, substantially reducing post-operative pain and discomfort. The small incision, and minimal post surgical discomfort more than outweigh the bigger clipped area.

After her surgery your pet may be quieter than usual when you collect her due to the after effects of General Anesthesia. Although laparoscopic surgery is far less uncomfortable than traditional open abdominal surgery, she will have received pain relieving drugs and will be sent home with medication to take for the next couple of days. Usually our laparoscopic spay patients are back to normal the next day but we do still advise that they take it easy for a few days more.