In our continuing efforts to offer the highest quality veterinary medicine, we are pleased to provide a wide range of surgical services for our patients.
Minimally Invasive and Laparoscopic Surgery
Minimally invasive surgery means that we are finding new ways to reduce incision size and the trauma to internal tissues of the body.
After becoming a standard of care in human surgery, laparoscopic surgery is an emerging trend in veterinary medicine. Using a camera smaller than the diameter of a pencil and very small narrow instruments, we can do dog spays, liver biopsy, gall bladder removal, and urinary bladder exploration with much less risk, less bleeding, less post-operative pain and a much faster healing time than traditional surgery. One of the special instruments is called a vessel sealer which looks like a long narrow pair of pliers. It can clamp, cauterize, and cut so that no internal stitches are used.
Laparoscopic Spay (Ovariectomy)
This involves removing the ovaries through (1) 2.5cm incision or 3 abdominal incisions smaller than the diameter of a pencil while leaving the uterus intact. The single incision uses the same technique as in human surgery when they go through your belly button. It prevents a female dog from going into heat, getting pregnant and reduces the risk of numerous other health issues if a dog is not spayed. The common, traditional surgical approach to a spay involves removing both ovaries and the uterus in a dog. (ovariohysterectomy). Removing just the ovaries (ovariectomy) is much safer and less invasive and painful than removing both the ovaries and uterus. Dogs do not have problems with their uterus if the ovaries are removed. This progressive surgical technique results in fewer complications and a faster recovery.
Vessel Sealer Spay
Humans are obviously much larger than most dogs and so sometimes in small dogs (less than 10kg) we remove the ovaries through a single 2 cm incision using only the vessel sealer as there may not be enough room for the laparoscope and instruments. This takes less time than using the laparoscope and is even less invasive. We can also use this technique in larger dogs but for dogs over 15 kg we recommend a full laparoscopic ovariectomy.
Large breed deep chested dogs like Great Danes, German Shepherds and Standard poodles are prone to "bloat" or twisted stomachs. This can be prevented by doing a procedure called a gastropexy to tack the stomach to the inside of the abdominal wall – so it can’t twist. Using a laparoscope this can be done through a 2-3cm incision which results in much less pain and bleeding, post-operative discomfort, and a faster recovery. Traditional open gastropexies require a 15-20 cm incision. Females can also be spayed through the single 2-3cm incision at the same time as the gastropexy.
An exploration of the abdomen is much easier and safer with a laparoscope. Gall bladder and urinary bladder stone removal, liver and other organ biopsies and even kidney removal can all be performed through very small incisions.
Minimally Invasive Surgery is more expensive than traditional surgery, but the reduced complications, pain and faster recovery are significant benefits to the comfort and well-being of your pet.