What is Laparoscopy?
Laparoscopy, or minimally-invasive surgery, is a way to explore the organs of your pet’s abdomen using only tiny key-hole incisions. Using these incisions (generally 3/16”), we can insert a camera and our surgical instruments to perform surgery. Laparoscopy is a safer method of surgery because everything that is done is under direct magnified visualization. Organs, such as your pet’s ovaries, do not need to be pulled out of the body to allow the surgery to be performed so there is less trauma to the internal structures of your pet’s abdomen. Recent studies have shown the use of laparoscopy to be a less traumatic and less painful alternative to traditional procedures, such as a spay.
Laparoscopic OVE Spays
With traditional spays, a 1-4” incision is made in the abdominal wall. The ovaries are then blindly hooked and the ovarian ligament is torn from the body wall. This tearing causes pain and can cause bruising. In traditional spays, most vets also unnecessarily remove the uterus. Due to the location of the uterus and the attempt to minimize the surgical incision, significant tension is placed on the body of the uterus which may cause trauma and bleeding.
This is a minimally-invasive spay that removes the ovaries from healthy dogs and has been shown to be a less painful alternative to traditional spays. With this technique, 2 small keyhole incisions are made into the abdomen and our laparoscopic equipment is used to perform the surgery. The ovarian ligament is not torn from the body, but carefully cut and cauterized with virtually no bleeding or pain. No tension is placed on the uterus (which is not removed). Because of the enhanced visualization, there is less of a chance of leaving ovarian tissue behind. Laparoscopic spays have been shown to offer 65% less pain than traditional spays which means a faster recovery and less trauma to their body. Activity restriction is only recommended for the first 2-3 days after a LOVE spay versus 7-14 days for a traditional spay. Recent studies have shown there is no real benefit in removing the uterus of a young, otherwise healthy animal. The reason this is the old standard of care was to prevent future uterine diseases, but many papers have since been published debunking this rationale backed up by data from our European counterparts who only remove the ovaries. We are hoping that even if your veterinarian doesn’t perform laparoscopic spays, that they will start at the very least to perform ovariectomies which are associated with less pain, less complications, and is a faster surgery. See the following article for more details: VAN GOETHEM, B., SCHAEFERS-OKKENS, A. and KIRPENSTEIJN, J. (2006), Making a Rational Choice Between Ovariectomy and Ovariohysterectomy in the Dog: A Discussion of the Benefits of Either Technique. Veterinary Surgery, 35: 136–143.