Abdominal Exploration (Laparotomy)

If you are experiencing abdominal problems, an abdominal exploration or laparotomy may be in order.

The procedure is done under general anesthesia. First, the surgeon will make a cut into the abdomen and will examine the abdominal organs. A biopsy may be taken at this time.

This procedure is often used to examine the following conditions:

  • Inflammation of the appendix - acute appendicitis
  • Inflammation of the pancreas - acute or chronic pancreatitis
  • Pockets of infection - retroperitoneal abscess, abdominal abscess, pelvic abscess
  • Endometriosis
  • Inflammation of the fallopian tubes - salpingitis
  • Scar tissue of the abdomen - adhesions
  • Ovary, colon, pancreatic, liver cancers
  • Inflammation of the intestinal pocket - diverticulitis
  • Hole in the intestine - intestinal perforation
  • Pregnancy outside the uterus - ectopic pregnancy
  • Extent of conditions such as Hodgkin's lymphoma

Your length of stay at the hospital depends on the severity of the underlying problems. Patients can usually return to normal eating and drinking habits about two to three days after surgery.

Risks include reactions to medications, problems breathing, bleeding, infection and incisional hernias.

Complete recovery from this procedure takes four to eight weeks.