An ovariohysterectomy is the medical term for the surgery performed on female pets commonly called a “spay”. A laparoscopic procedure utilizes tiny camera-guided surgical tools, which allows for a much smaller incision than in traditional surgery. Whenever possible, performing an abdominal surgery using a laparoscope is preferable because it is both safe and minimally invasive. This makes surgery less painful and recovery quicker, which is why we now perform canine ovariohysterectomies using a laparoscope.
Performing an ovariohysterectomy (OVH) laparoscopically causes less trauma to the body. In a traditional OVH, a larger incision must be made so that the surgeon is able to access the ovaries and the uterus. The reproductive organs must be removed with a combination of force and cutting, which causes stress on the entire abdomen. In a laparoscopic procedure, a tube containing a fiberoptic camera and small instrument channel is inserted through a much smaller incision. For example, a traditional ovariohysterectomy for a 60 lb. Labrador might require a 4″ incision, versus a 1/2″ incision for a laparoscopic OVH.
Using the camera gives the surgeon a clear view of the abdomen – this allows the surgeon to see the anatomy in great detail, since the image is magnified. The doctor can then easily locate the reproductive organs and extricate them. There is less cutting and trauma involved in a laparoscopic OVH as well – the ovaries and uterus are removed by cauterization. The bleeding is instantaneously stopped as the surgeon works, so there is less risk of damaged blood vessels hemorrhaging during the surgery. After the reproductive tract is removed, the small incision is quickly sutured closed.
With a routine OVH, an averages patient’s recovery period is 10 – 14 days. Procedures done with a laparoscope require less time – generally 4 to 7 days are needed before the patient resumes full activity again. Patients are often acting normally by the next day.
Whenever possible, performing an abdominal surgery such as an ovariohysterectomy using a laparoscope is preferable to traditional methods because it is both safe and minimally invasive. At Frontier, we enjoy helping you learn about new medical and surgical possibilities. Please contact us if you have any questions.