When is Exploratory Surgery done?

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Exploratory surgery

Exploratory surgery is a diagnostic technique used by physicians in an effort to predict a disease. Exploratory surgery is the term used when a diagnosis is suspected but x-rays/scans and other investigations have not been able to confirm the diagnosis. The one and only option left in such cases is for the doctor  to open up and look at the affected area manually. Exploratory surgery can be done in both humans and animals, but it is very common in animals. Exploratory surgery is used most commonly to diagnose or locate cancer in humans, but it can be used for other diseases too. The usage of modern technologies such as MRIs has made investigative surgeries insignificant. Exploratory surgery is a surgery which is performed exclusively for diagnostic purposes, without the purpose of treating disease. Occasionally, cancer is sited in an area where normal tests cannot detect it. In such case, physicians must go into surgery and look for the cancerous mass, by hand. Exploratory surgery is used predominantly to spot the site of the tumor and the extent of its damage. If a tumor is found, then a biopsy is carried out and tests are run to see what type of cancer it is.


What is Laparoscopic Exploratory Surgery?

Laparoscopy is a relatively recent alternative to laparotomy that has many advantages.

Exploratory laparoscopy is mostly used for diagnostic purposes to look at the abdomen after abdominal trauma and in cases of abdominal sickness. Currently, exploratory Surgery is done laparoscopically which is plainly invasive and can even be performed as a day case procedure. Once the doctors get an idea of what they may find, they get an approval from the patient for one or more treatment procedures simultaneously, so that treatment can be performed right away after they are sure of the diagnosis. This way, the patient may not have to undergo a second anesthetic. Laparoscopy is a term given to a set of surgical procedures that are done with the help of a camera located in the abdomen. Initially, the laparoscope was used during surgical removal of the gallbladder (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) and appendix (laparoscopic appendectomy). Currently, the laparoscope also let the doctors to perform minimally invasive surgery with just a small incision in the You do not have access to view this node. This technology, known as laparoscopic assisted You do not have access to view this node, enables the minimally invasive elimination of the colon, and the weight reducing surgery gastric bypass.


How is Laparoscopic Exploratory Surgery performed?

  • Generally, the procedure is performed in the hospital, under general anesthesia, and after informed approval has been received.
  • A catheter  is inserted through the urethra into the bladder.
  • An extra tube may be passed through the nostril and into the stomach to eliminate intestinal contents (N-G tube).
  • The skin of the abdomen is cleansed, and sterile drapes are applied.
  • A small incision or cut is made above or below the navel to allow the insertion of a trocar (basically, a tube extending from inside the abdomen to the outside), which permits passage of a video camera.
  • A needle is inserted into the incision, before inserting the trocar and carbon dioxide gas is injected to raise the abdominal wall, and thus creating a larger space to work in. This facilitates for easier viewing and manipulation of the organs.
  • Laparoscope is inserted after an adequate quantity of gas is instilled, and the organs of the pelvis and abdomen are examined.
  • Further tiny incisions are made for instruments that let the surgeon to move the abdominal organs, cut You do not have access to view this node, suture, and staple structures to safely and successfully carry out the essential procedure.
  • After examination, the laparoscope is then removed, the incisions are closed with sutures, and bandages are applied.
  • Based on the operation performed, a drain may be left through one of the incisions in order to remove the collected fluid.


What is abdominal exploration?

Abdominal exploration is surgery to inspect the contents of the abdomen. Surgery that opens the abdomen is called a laparotomy. Laparotomy may also be done to treat specific health problems and medical conditions. In abdominal exploration, the surgeon will investigate the abdominal cavity for disease or trauma. The abdominal organs under consideration will be examined for confirmation of infection, inflammation, perforation, abnormal growths, or other conditions. Any fluid surrounding the abdominal organs will be examined; the presence of blood, bile, or other fluids may specify particular diseases or damages. In some cases, an abnormal smell that may be felt upon entering the abdominal cavity may be a proof of infection or a perforated gastrointestinal organ. In such abnormalities, the surgeon has the choice of treating the patient before closing the wound or initiating treatment after exploratory You do not have access to view this node.


Why is an abdominal exploration performed?

The abdominal exploration is performed to examine:

  • Gallbladder
  • Kidneys, uterus, and bladder
  • Large intestine (colon)
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Small intestine (jejunum and ileum)
  • Spleen
  • Stomach
  • Uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries (in women)

There may be some problems inside these organs in the abdomen that can be easily diagnosed with imaging tests such as x-rays and CT scans. On the other hand, many problems need surgery to get an exact diagnosis.


What are the other conditions that can be predicted during exploratory laparotomy?

A number of other conditions that may be predicted during exploratory laparotomy are:

  • Cancer of the abdominal organs, such as ovary, colon, pancreas, liver.
  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum, the lining of the abdominal cavity)
  • Appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix)
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Abscesses (a localized area of infection)
  • Adhesions (bands of scar tissue that form after trauma or You do not have access to view this node)
  • Diverticulitis (inflammation of sac-like structures in the walls of the intestines)
  • Intestinal perforation
  • Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy occurring outside of the uterus)
  • Foreign bodies (e.g., a bullet in a gunshot victim)
  • Internal bleeding.


What is staging laparotomy?

Exploratory laparotomy plays a key role in the staging of some kinds of cancers. Cancer staging is used to describe how far a cancer has spread. A laparotomy is an easy tool for a surgeon to directly examine the abdominal organs for evidence of cancer and remove samples of tissue for additional examination. When laparotomy is used for this use, it is called staging laparotomy or pathological staging. At some stage in exploratory laparotomy for cancer, a pelvic washing may be performed; sterile fluid is instilled into the abdominal cavity and washed around the abdominal organs, then withdrawn and analyzed for the presence of abnormal You do not have access to view this node. This may indicate that a cancer has started to spread (metastasize).


What are the risks in exploratory surgery?

Risks associated with the use of general anesthesia include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, sore throat, fatigue, headache, and muscle soreness can occur.
  •  Very rarely, blood pressure problems, allergic reaction, heart attack, or stroke may happen.
  •  Additional risks include bleeding, infection, injury to the abdominal organs or structures, or formation of adhesions (bands of scar tissue between organs).


When is Exploratory Surgery done  in animals?

As animals can't explain their symptoms as easily as humans, exploratory surgery is more common in animals. Exploratory surgery is performed when an animal may have swallowed a foreign body that is lodged in their body, when looking for cancer, or when looking for a range of other gastrointestinal problems. It is a quite regular procedure that is performed only after tests and blood work disclose nothing unusual.

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