(Abdominal Exploration; Laparotomy, Exploratory)
|Abdominal Organs, Anterior View|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Reasons for Procedure
- A hole in the bowel wall
- Pregnancy outside of the womb, known as an ectopic pregnancy
- Damage to an organ from trauma
- Infection in the abdomen
- Blood clots
- Damage to organs
- Hernia formation
- Large scars
- Reaction to the anesthesia
- Previous abdominal surgery
- Heart or lung disease
- Weak immune system
- Blood disorders
- Taking certain medications
- Smoking, alcohol abuse, or drug use
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Your doctor may perform the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. If your surgery was not done as emergency treatment, you may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin
- Blood thinners
- Anti-platelet medications
- Arrange for a ride home.
- The night before, eat a light meal. Unless told otherwise by your doctor, do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
Description of the Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- You may need to wear special socks or boots to help prevent blood clots.
- You may have a foley catheter for a short time to help you urinate.
- You may use an incentive spirometer to help you breathe deeply.
- Follow your doctor's instructions .
- The doctor will remove the sutures or staples in 7-10 days.
- Take proper care of the incision site. This will help to prevent an infection.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- During the first two weeks, rest and avoid lifting.
- Slowly increase your activities. Begin with light chores, short walks, and some driving. Depending on your job, you may be able to return to work.
- To promote healing, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables .
Try to avoid
- Eating high-fiber foods
- Drinking plenty of water
- Using stool softeners if needed
Call Your Doctor
- Fever or chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or any discharge from the incision site
- Increasing pain or pain that does not go away
- Your abdomen becomes swollen or hard to the touch
- Diarrhea or constipation that lasts more than 3 days
- Bright red or dark black stools
- Lightheadedness or fainting
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Pain or difficulty with urination
- Swelling, redness, or pain in your leg
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov
Canadian Digestive Health Foundation http://www.cdhf.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Laparotomy. Better Health Channel website. Available at: http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Laparotomy. Updated July 2011. Accessed May 23, 2013.
Testing biopsy and cytology specimens for cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/understandingyourdiagnosis/examsandtestdescriptions/testingbiopsyandcytologyspecimensforcancer/index?sitearea=ped . Accessed May 23, 2013.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD; Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2013 -
- Update Date: 05/23/2013 -