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  • Laparoscopic (Keyhole) Surgery

What is a laparoscopic spay and why should you chose it?

A laparoscopy ovariectomy, also called a Lap-spay or Keyhole spay, is a mini-invasive and advanced technique for neutering your female dog and offers numerous benefits compared to the traditional spay technique

Why is it an advanced technique?

A keyhole spay is performed by vets specifically trained for this technique, with the use of advanced instruments, like a laparoscope camera and vessel sealing forceps used which are also used in human surgery. These instruments allow a minimal invasive access to the abdominal cavity

What are the benefits compared to a traditional spay?

  • Smaller wounds: the wounds of the laparoscopic approach are minimal, around 1 cm/0.5inches long, (vs 6-15 cm/2.5-6 inch of traditional spay) and so there is a decreased amount of post operative wound complications (skin breakdown, seroma formation, failure of abdominal wall closure)
  • More direct access to the ovaries: this significantly decreases tissue trauma, pain, bleeding and bruising to the internal organs and muscles
  • Reduced risk of infection: due to the combination of smaller incision and reduced tissue traction
  • Reduced risk of bleeding: the special vessel sealing forceps that are used during the procedure allow a safe and secure closure of the ovarian artery, without need of a suture that instead can slip or lose its tightness
  • Faster recovery: the reduced discomfort and the fast healing allow the patient to go back sooner to the normal activities (5 days vs 2 weeks of traditional spay)
  • Minimal activity restriction: the patients are ready to go back to the normal activity after 5 days.
  • Less scarring: this helps a less painful healing and a reduction of internal abdominal adhesions (attachments amongst internal organs)
  • Decreased post operative pain: it has been shown that after a lap spay procedure patients have a faster recovery and so an increased postoperative activity when compared with a traditional technique.

Please check with our Vets or Nurses at Abbey House Vets in Leeds if your dog is a suitable candidate for the laparoscopic spay.

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References: - Devitt CM, Cox RE, Hailey JJ. Duration, complications, stress, and pain of open ovariohysterectomy versus a simple method of laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005 Sep 15;227(6):921-7. doi: 10.2460/javma.2005.227.921. PMID: 16190590. - Okkens, A. C., H. S. Kooistra, and R. F. Nickel. "Comparison of long-term effects of ovariectomy versus ovariohysterectomy in bitches." Journal of Reproduction and Fertility-Supplements only 51 (1997): 227-232. - Royal Veterinary College, “Laparoscopic neutering”, https://www.rvc.ac.uk/

Frequently asked questions about laparoscopic spay

Do I need to fast my pet?

As for every procedure that requires general anaesthesia, the patient needs to be fasted prior to surgery. It is advisable to withhold the food for 6 hours before the admission. Water can be offered until the time the patient reaches the practice.

Is this a one day procedure?

Yes. You will need to bring your pet in the morning, when they will receive an admission appointment involving a full general check. A blood test will be offered, to help to rule out internal medical conditions that can affect the general anaesthesia. When it is confirmed that the patient is suitable for the surgery they will be admitted. The surgery will be performed during the day. When the patient has recovered from the anaesthesia our nursing team will contact you for an update and to organise a discharge appointment  

Can I have it done in any branch?

Due to the special instruments and the high level of expertise that this surgery requires, we offer it in our main hospital in Morley.

What does the procedure involve for my pet?

Your pet will receive general anaesthesia. Following this, a wide surgical site will be clipped and cleaned to guarantee sterility throughout the surgery. A special needle will be inserted close to the umbilicus and a medical gas will gently inflate the abdomen. At this point two mini-invasive incisions are performed to allow the abdominal access of the camera and of the instruments. The ovaries are identified and removed after sealing the vessels with advanced special forceps. The gas is gently removed from the abdomen and the incisions closed.

Is the procedure the same for every dog?

Usually the procedure is performed as previously described. Rarely some patients can have anatomical peculiarities that can require 3 instead of 2 mini-invasive accesses.

What care does my pet need following the surgery?

During the discharge appointment one of our nurses will guide you through the post operative care treatment tailored for your pet, and written instructions will be given. If you have any queries or concerns our nursing team will be happy to answer and help you.

Can any dog have keyhole surgery for neutering?

While the keyhole spay is advisable for most female dogs, there can be some exceptions. One factor that can be decisive if the patient is suitable for a keyhole spay is the size. Sometimes very small breeds or severely overweight dogs the traditional procedure can be more advisable. Because overweight dogs have an increased risk also with the traditional procedure, a pre-surgical weight loss programme can be suggested. Particular conditions such as pyometra or uterine disease require a traditional technique.

What are the disadvantages of keyhole spay?

The main disadvantage is that the procedure requires an extended clipping of the hair to guarantee the sterility of the surgical field. The clipping usually goes from the sides of the back to the last ribs and to all the ventral abdomen. Complications can happen with any procedure, but they are very rare. In the worst case, keyhole surgery is converted to the traditional spay technique, with no long-term consequences

In this surgery only the ovaries are removed. What are the health risks if the uterus is left in place?

The removal of the ovaries alone is less traumatic than the one combined with the uterus. Uterus disease in dogs are mainly hormonal dependent, so when the ovaries are removed the risk of uterine disease is very small.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our team should you have any further questions.

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