Exploratory laparotomy is surgery khổng lồ open up the belly area (abdomen). This surgery is done to lớn find the cause of problems (such as belly pain or bleeding) that testing could not diagnose. It is also used when an abdominal injury needs emergency medical care. This surgery uses one large cut (incision). The provider can then see and check the organs inside the abdomen. If the cause of the problem is found during the procedure, then treatment is often done at the same time. In some cases, a minimally invasive sầu surgery called exploratory laparoscopy may be used instead. That method uses a tiny camera & several small incisions. But in many cases an exploratory laparotomy is preferred. Read on khổng lồ learn more about this procedure.

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Reasons for the surgery

Organs that may be looked at during exploratory laparotomy include:







Small intestine (small bowel)

Large intestine (colon or large bowel)


Ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus (in women)

Lymph nodes 

Abdominal blood vessels 

Membranes that line the abdominal cavity

Getting ready for the surgery

The surgery takes place in a hospital. It is done by a surgeon. You will likely stay in the hospital for a few days or longer. To prepare for the surgery, do the following:

Tell your provider about any medicines you’re taking. This includes over-the-counter medicines, prescription medicines, herbs, street drugs, herbs, vitamins, & other supplements. You may need to lớn stop taking some or all of them for a time before the surgery.

Tell your provider if you drink alcohol. This is very important if you are a heavy drinker. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening, so be honest with your provider.

Also tell your provider if you have any allergies or other health problems. This includes recent illnesses, especially any bleeding problems.

Follow any directions you are given for not eating or drinking before surgery.

The day of the surgery

Most exploratory laparotomies are done as emergency surgery after an injury or accident. 

You will be checked for risks of heart, lung, or other problems during surgery. 

You may need lớn change inlớn a hospital gown.

Before the surgery begins, an IV (intravenous) line is put inlớn a vein in your arm or hvà. This line supplies fluids and medicines.

You will be given medicine (general anesthesia) to keep you không tính phí of pain. This medicine puts you in a state like deep sleep during the surgery. 

A tube may be placed through your mouth & inlớn your throat lớn help with breathing. Also, monitors are attached khổng lồ your body. These record your vital signs, such as heart rate & blood pressure, during the surgery. 

A thin tube (catheter) is placed into lớn your bladder. This tube drains urine from your bladder during the surgery.

During the surgery

The skin over your belly is cleaned.

An incision is made in your belly.

The tissue, blood vessels, & organs in your belly are carefully looked at and checked for problems.

Tissue samples (biopsy) may be removed và sent to a lab for study.

If the cause of the problem is found, treatment may be done then, if needed.

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When the surgery is done, the incision is closed with stitches (sutures) or staples. A drain may be placed in the abdomen lớn remove any extra fluids.

After the surgery

You will be taken to lớn a room khổng lồ rest until you have recovered from the anesthesia. Nurses will closely watch your condition. When you are more awake and alert, you will be moved lớn another room.

Medicines are given khổng lồ help prevent infection & lớn manage pain, if needed.

You will not be given food or drink until your bowels start to lớn work normally again. This may take a few days.

You will need to lớn get up & walk around as soon as you are able. This helps to prevent blood clots.

Also, you may be given breathing exercises khổng lồ do. These help prevent pneumonia.

The tube to lớn drain urine is usually removed within a few days.

If a drain was used for your incision, this is also removed.

You will be able khổng lồ go home page when the provider says there are no issues of concern.

Arrange for an adult family member or friover lớn drive sầu you home page.

Before leaving, make sure you have all the prescriptions và trang chủ care instructions you will need. Also make sure you have a contact number for your provider or the hospital. This is in case you have sầu problems or questions after the surgery.

Do not lift anything heavier than 5 pounds for about 6 weeks. This gives tissue time khổng lồ heal, & can prevent a hernia.

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When lớn Điện thoại tư vấn your provider

After you get trang chủ, Gọi your healthcare provider if you have:

Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or as advised by your provider

Increased pain, redness, swelling, bleeding, or drainage at the incision site

Pain that cannot be controlled with medicines

Swollen belly

Diarrhea or constipation that does not get better within 2 days

Bloody or blaông xã, tarry stools

Problems or pain with urination

Chest pain, shortness of breath, or cough that won’t go away

Nausea & vomiting

Dizziness or fainting

Swelling or pain in the leg


Recovery time will vary for each person. It may take as long as 4 khổng lồ 6 weeks. You will need to see your provider for follow-up. This is khổng lồ remove sầu any sutures or staples & khổng lồ check your healing progress.

Risks and possible complications

These vary depending on the reason for the surgery. The most common risks và possible complications include:



Can"t find the cause of the problem, so more surgery or other treatments may be needed