Laparotomy, exploratory


A laparotomy is a large incision made into the abdomen. Exploratory laparotomy is used to visualize and examine the structures inside of the abdominal cavity.


Exploratory laparotomy is a method of abdominal exploration, a diagnostic tool that allows physicians to examine the abdominal organs. The procedure may be recommended for a patient who has abdominal pain of unknown origin or who has sustained an injury to the abdomen. Injuries may occur as a result of blunt trauma (e.g., road traffic accident) or penetrating trauma (e.g., stab or gunshot wound). Because of the nature of the abdominal organs, there is a high risk of infection if organs rupture or are perforated. In addition, bleeding into the abdominal cavity is considered a medical emergency. Exploratory laparotomy is used to determine the source of pain or the extent of injury and perform repairs if needed.

Laparotomy may be performed to determine the cause of a patient's symptoms or to establish the extent of a disease. For example, endometriosis is a disorder in which cells from the inner lining of the uterus grow elsewhere in the body, most commonly on the pelvic and abdominal organs. Endometrial growths, however, are difficult to visualize using standard imaging techniques such as x ray, ultrasound technology, or computed tomography (CT) scanning. Exploratory laparotomy may be used to examine the abdominal and pelvic organs (such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and rectum) for evidence of endometriosis. Any growths found may then be removed.

Exploratory laparotomy plays an important role in the staging of certain cancers. Cancer staging is used to describe how far a cancer has spread. A laparotomy enables a surgeon to directly examine the abdominal organs for evidence of cancer and remove samples of tissue for further examination. When laparotomy is used for this use, it is called staging laparotomy or pathological staging.

Some other conditions that may be discovered or investigated during exploratory laparotomy include:


Because laparotomy may be performed under a number of circumstances to diagnose or treat numerous conditions, no data exists as to the overall incidence of the procedure.


The patient is usually placed under general anesthesia for the duration of surgery. The advantages to general anesthesia are that the patient remains unconscious during the procedure, no pain will be experienced nor will the patient have any memory of the procedure, and the patient's muscles remain completely relaxed, allowing safer surgery.


Once an adequate level of anesthesia has been reached, the initial incision into the skin may be made. A scalpel is first used to cut into the superficial layers of the skin. The incision may be median (vertical down the patient's midline), paramedian (vertical elsewhere on the abdomen), transverse (horizontal), T-shaped, or curved, according to the needs of the surgery. The incision is then continued through the subcutaneous fat, the abdominal muscles, and finally, the peritoneum. Electrocautery is often used to cut through the subcutaneous tissue as it

During a laparotomy, and an incision is made into the patient's abdomen (A). Skin and connective tissue called fascia is divided (B). The lining of the abdominal cavity, the peritoneum, is cut, and any exploratory procedures are undertaken (C). To close the incision, the peritoneum, fascia, and skin are stitched (E). (Illustration by GGS Inc.)
During a laparotomy, and an incision is made into the patient's abdomen (A). Skin and connective tissue called fascia is divided (B). The lining of the abdominal cavity, the peritoneum, is cut, and any exploratory procedures are undertaken (C). To close the incision, the peritoneum, fascia, and skin are stitched (E). (
Illustration by GGS Inc.
has the ability to stop bleeding as it cuts. Instruments called retractors may be used to hold the incision open once the abdominal cavity has been exposed.

Abdominal exploration

The surgeon may then explore the abdominal cavity for disease or trauma. The abdominal organs in question will be examined for evidence of infection, inflammation, perforation, abnormal growths, or other conditions. Any fluid surrounding the abdominal organs will be inspected; the presence of blood, bile, or other fluids may indicate specific diseases or injuries. In some cases, an abnormal smell encountered upon entering the abdominal cavity may be evidence of infection or a perforated gastrointestinal organ.

If an abnormality is found, the surgeon has the option of treating the patient before closing the wound or initiating treatment after exploratory surgery. Alternatively, samples of various tissues and/or fluids may be removed for further analysis. For example, if cancer is suspected, biopsies may be obtained so that the tissues can be examined microscopically for evidence of abnormal cells. If no abnormality is found, or if immediate treatment is not needed, the incision may be closed without performing any further surgical procedures.

During 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 cells. This may indicate that a cancer has begun to spread (metastasize).


Upon completion of any exploration or procedures, the organs and related structures are returned to their normal anatomical position. The incision may then be sutured (stitched closed). The layers of the abdominal wall are sutured in reverse order, and the skin incision closed with sutures or staples.


Various diagnostic tests may be performed to determine if exploratory laparotomy is necessary. Blood tests or imaging techniques such as x ray, computed tomography (CT) scan, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are examples. The presence of intraperitoneal fluid (IF) may be an indication that exploratory laparotomy is necessary; one study indicated that IF was present in nearly three-quarters of patients with intra-abdominal injuries.

Directly preceding the surgical procedure, an intravenous (IV) line will be placed so that fluids and/or medications may be administered to the patient during and after surgery. A Foley catheter will be inserted into the bladder to drain urine. The patient will also meet with the anesthesiologist to go over details of the method of anesthesia to be used.


The patient will remain in the postoperative recovery room for several hours where his or her recovery can be closely monitored. Discharge from the hospital may occur in as little as one to two days after the procedure, but may be later if additional procedures were performed or complications were encountered. The patient will be instructed to watch for symptoms that may indicate infection, such as fever, redness or swelling around the incision, drainage, and worsening pain.


Risks inherent to the use of general anesthesia include nausea, vomiting, sore throat, fatigue, headache, and muscle soreness; more rarely, blood pressure problems, allergic reaction, heart attack, or stroke may occur. Additional risks include bleeding, infection, injury to the abdominal organs or structures, or formation of adhesions (bands of scar tissue between organs).

Normal results

The results following exploratory laparotomy depend on the reasons why it was performed. The procedure may indicate that further treatment is necessary; for example, if cancer was detected, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or more surgery may be recommended. In some cases, the abnormality is able to be treated during laparotomy, and no further treatment is necessary.

Morbidity and mortality rates

The operative and postoperative complication rates associated with exploratory laparotomy vary according to the patient's condition and any additional procedures performed.


Laparoscopy is a relatively recent alternative to laparotomy that has many advantages. Also called minimally invasive surgery, laparoscopy is a surgical procedure in which a laparoscope (a thin, lighted tube) and other instruments are inserted into the abdomen through small incisions. The internal operating field may then be visualized on a video monitor that is connected to the scope. In some patients, the technique may be used for abdominal exploration in place of a laparotomy. Laparoscopy is associated with faster recovery times, shorter hospital stays, and smaller surgical scars.



Marx, John A., et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine. St. Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc., 2002.


Hahn, David D., Steven R. Offerman, and James F. Holmes. "Clinical Importance of Intraperitoneal Fluid in Patients with Blunt Intra-abdominal Injury." American Journal of Emergency Medicine 20, no. 7 (November 2002).


Awori, Nelson, et al. "Laparotomy." Primary Surgery. [cited April 6, 2003]. .

"Surgery by Laparotomy." Stream OR. 2001 [cited April 6, 2003]. .

Stephanie Dionne Sherk


Depending on the reason for performing an exploratory laparotomy, the procedure may be performed by a general or specialized surgeon in a hospital operating room . In the case of trauma to the abdomen, laparotomy may be performed by an emergency room physician.


User Contributions:

i have to have laparotomy surgery the one where your cut from breast down to lower abd big incision
The article was very informative. I have read some information about having a Laparotomy to remove large fibroids. My doctor recommends me to have a hysterectomy. I am anemic, due to heavy periods from the fibroids. I plan to suggest the laparotomy to my doctor. Do you have any pictures of the surgury as you provided above? What is your expert opinion? I am a 44 year old divorce women, and have one adult female child. I am in good health. May want to try to have a son before reaching 50.

I just had this surgery done to remove adhesions and my left fallopian tube. The recovery has been rough and I am in more pain then I was prior to surgery. Honestly, if given the option again I would of chosen a lap surgery rather than this invasive one. Considering my symptoms will reuccur within time.
I have to have surgery, for a dermoid cyst, i would like to know how long can u have a dermoid cyst, i have been looking up the meaning of dermoid cyst, and i am still trying to figure how i got it. could it be from missing birth control pills. I am 43yrs old my youngest child is 11yrs old and i still might want to have one more. Do they have to remove all of my ovaries where the cyst is. will they leave some or if i have one it both ovaries will that limited my chances of getting pregnant again. How long is recovery, and how long can i wait to have another a child if i want one. How long is the surgery. could i have had this cyst for 11yrs or is it because of the birth control pills.
I had a laparotomy 2 years ago for hernia, fundoplication, and j-tube. Now I am having another laparatomy to excise scar tissue and adhesions, place a new feeding (jejunostomy) tube, and to explore my abdomen for other abnormalities. I think they will use the same incision, but maybe not as long. My first one is 8 inches. I am having surgery on Monday, April 17th.
I am 47 years old and had a hysterectomy 10 years ago. My doctor recommended that I leave my ovaries in to help with estrogen and the immediate change of life, but leaving my ovaries in was the wrong thing to do. In 2004, I had incurred two more cystic masses growing on my ovaries to the size of 10cm and 15cm. An oophorectomy/laparotomy was performed to remove them. Not knowing that some of the fibrous tissue was left on the wall of my pelvis, 2 more cystic masses have grown. One being a complex mass at 10cm and the other at 7cm. I have seen a general surgeon and now have to undergo another surgery to remove the cysts. On top of that, adhesions have also grown on my small bowel, being that the cysts are too close to it. Another laparotomy is in question at this point, since the complex cyst may have cancerous cells. My advice to all of you who are in the process of having surgery done for any of the above reasons, please ask questions and make sure that everything that needs to be removed, be removed, to keep you from having these reoccurances and the additional stress on your well being.
in training, not a professional and please take with grain of salt and professional advice.

As intrusive as this procedure seems to be, we have patients up and moving after the first day. (this helps the organs return to their proper positioning.)

To the hysterectomy above, leaving your ovaries in was a thoughtful and good decision, though in light of your subsequent situation, you may have been better off removing them. Taking/removing body parts preemptively is not SOP, nor should it be in my opinion. Your cysts could or could not be related to adjacent fibrous tissue, and the same is true for the adjacent adhesion. Adhesion is a common problem with this or any procedure involving the perforation of the abdominal cavity.

Best of luck.
I have to agree this is a very informative article.I am having a Laparotomy done in two weeks.I have to have adhesions removed from off of my and also to remove fibroids.This article was able to brake things down to make it easy to understand and told all info that was needed.I would recomened this site highly.Much THANKS to all in charge of this site.
i have had this sugery done from the breastbone to my belly button, it is the worst sugery i have ever had i died 3 times during the procedure and the got severe lung infection afterwards i was then transferred to ICU i was in hospital for 3 weeks, i had a cathida and naso gastric tube, if you can have a differnt suggey chose that option
I had this surgey [midline incision from sternum to pubic hair line] in the summer of '94 [i was 7] after a drunk driver caused a pileup. I was careflighted to a children's hospital where the doctors didn't know exactly what was wrong with me. I had many MRIs and CT scans and the doctors decided to perform exploratory surgery. They found I had three tears to my abdomen. They fixed the tears. I also got pneumonia while I was in the hospital. I was in the hospital almost a month. I still the scar and have windshield in my cheek from the wreck.
Speaking with 13 years of experience with my scar, you will have severe muscle spasms in the region of the abdomen that was operated one. I'm 20 now and I still sit in class and sometimes couple over because of the spasms. Make SURE you get a proper rehabilitation after you have any type of surgery! And make sure you blow into that stupid toy because you will get pneumonia if you don't.
I am having a laparscopic exploratory that may turn into a laparotomy on 11/15. 2 years ago my fallopian tubes swelled to 5cm and the L one was glued to my colon. During the lapscope adhesions were noted. Shortly after constipation increased, w/ nausea and dry heaves, decreased appetite, weight loss. I've had 3 Csections a vag. hysto. I'm 46, caucasian. Family Hx of colon ca. Miralex qd helped w/ nausea still unable to eat a lot at one time. Ice cream and milk shakes is what I've been living on, lost 40+lbs. bms are narrow no blood detected. HAVE HAD EVERY KIND OF TEST!! This is it. Great understanding MDs! What if nothing, not even adhesions are found? What's next?
I probably should have asked earlier but I have an exp lap surgery scheduled for tomorrow (wed, the 30th) for dilated ovarian masses on both ovaries. A lot of friends and family have recently said I should have had a second opinion on my 'condition' but seeing that my surgery is very soon, it's a little too late for that. Am I making a mistake? The doctor seemed very urgent with me having this surgery and I've done a little reasearch online that seems like I should have the surgery, but I still doubt it. Any help?
I was 17 when i had this surgery done. I was going to my post prom trip and i started to get severe abdominal pain along with vomiting..the usual. When i was taken to the hospital, they found an ovarian cyst the size of a newborn baby's head, naturally i had to get the surgery. At first it didnt look like the scar would be that bad at all now after almost seven months the scar is really horrible looking. Then a couple of days ago my scar started to hurt, it was really sensitive to my pants or even underwear resting on it and then it got swollen but i didn't think it was that serious. The swelling has gone down now but i i decided to do a little research to see if that was supposed to happen. It wasnt my whole scar it was just the section that my pants rested on so i figured maybe it was irritation that caused it to happen. I dont know i still haven't found my answer yet, has this happened to anyone else? Does anyone have anyanswers?
I have heard that pants can irritate the area where there is a scare but I always think that anything different deserves a call to your Dr. Hopefully you have a good one and hear back. If you or your parents haven't already called Titiana please do.

Like CarolLynn I am having a laparscopic surgery that can turn into laparotomy on 12/10/08 for severe cervical stenosis. Something I have found no information about anywhere. Has anyone had either procedure for this reason?

CarolLynn, hope you have a quick day surgery and will be looking for an update.
My mother is scheduled for a remove a mass the size of a baseball on 1-07-09. It is causing constriction of her lower colon She is 80. in pretty good health. Any additional advice appreciated? Also she lives alone and we need info on what we need to do to prepare for her recovery needs at home
My mother is scheduled for a remove a mass the size of a baseball on 1-07-09. It is causing constriction of her lower colon She is 80. in pretty good health. Any additional advice appreciated? Also she lives alone and we need info on what we need to do to prepare for her recovery needs at home
sharon barnett
will this stop your period after u have the laparotomy i need to know
I am workaholic mother having 2 kids and my younger daugther was diagnosed of cystic hydroma and having neurogenic tumor. Operation was done 2 years ago. My question is in her right-upper elbow there is some abnormalities I'd noticed. Is there any possibility that her previous case will come back?
Let me know about it.. thank you..
Keep me in touch soon..
Break aleg!!!
I am workaholic mother having 2 kids and my younger daugther was diagnosed of cystic hydroma and having neurogenic tumor. Operation was done 2 years ago. My question is in her right-upper elbow there is some abnormalities I'd noticed. Is there any possibility that her previous case will come back?
Let me know about it.. thank you..
Keep me in touch soon..
Break aleg!!!
I had a doubt regarding this. Are there any cases that this exploratory laprotomy is done to a road accident victum twice in two days of time. If so in what cases this will be done. Thanking you for the information given above and feel it as a good informative article. Waiting for your reply
English is my second languge. So please try to understand me what I want to say to you. Thanks.
My question is I have a problem late period all in my life. I went to a hopital and the doctor told me I have to have a surgery Laparoscopoic ovarian cystectomy or Laparotomy.The doctor try to explain for me evrything, But I dont have any kids and I am 33 years old married women. Do you think I will have a problem if I get pregnant or the time I deliver the baby.
karen Stegeman
I had explorative surg when I had a perforated ulcer - it fixed it but did damahethe stomach lining causing me to get an ventral hernia.
I am 19 and have to have a laparotomy to remove my left ovary. when I was pregnant with my daughter they found an ovarian mass about 7-8cm in diameter in the ovary. If I want to have children later in life will I be able to get pregnant again with just one ovary? Also, is recovery very difficult? Will I be able to hold my baby soon after surgery?
dear jennifer
i also had surgery . my doctor suspected scar tissue in the left fallopian . my fallopian tube with swelled. he had planned on taking my left fallopian out . but when he got in there discovered that he counldnt take it out at this time due to i think he said it was glue or scar tissue was to close to colon. affraid he could damage my he just removed scar tissue and fluid from the tube and burned it the tube close. hoping that it want swell on me again. but im still in pain. going to talk to doctor on monday. also having lower back pain. was your anything like im describing. thanks pam hope you are better
Kara (and anyone considering to get a laparotomy), you don't need a laparotomy to remove your cyst. A laperoscopy can do the job just as well, without having to use such a large incision. I have endometriosis, PCS, and interstitial cystitis and have had 7 surgeries to remove endo implants and adhesions as well as many cysts on my ovaries. All of my surgeries have been laperscopic, even one called peritineal stripping which is robotic and done at the Mayo Clinic. I am 20 years old and was diagnosed at 16, if any of my surgeries had been a laparotomy the scar tissue I do have would incredibly worse. Even after a laperoscopic surgery the Drs instruct not to lift anything over 10 pounds for a month, the rules following a laparotomy would be much more strict since the incision is so large therefore needing longer to heal. For this reason, if your baby is more then ten pounds and you have a laparotomy, you wont be able to hold her for a while until you heal and arent at risk for herniating. Surgeries arent fun but if you have to have them, make the choice that is best for your health. It also doesnt hurt to go to other doctors for different opinions and surgery techniques, it's your body so it should be your choice.
Kara (and anyone considering to get a laparotomy), you don't need a laparotomy to remove your cyst. A laperoscopy can do the job just as well, without having to use such a large incision. I have endometriosis, PCS, and interstitial cystitis and have had 7 surgeries to remove endo implants and adhesions as well as many cysts on my ovaries. All of my surgeries have been laperscopic, even one called peritineal stripping which is robotic and done at the Mayo Clinic. I am 20 years old and was diagnosed at 16, if any of my surgeries had been a laparotomy the scar tissue I do have would incredibly worse. Even after a laperoscopic surgery the Drs instruct not to lift anything over 10 pounds for a month, the rules following a laparotomy would be much more strict since the incision is so large therefore needing longer to heal. For this reason, if your baby is more then ten pounds and you have a laparotomy, you wont be able to hold her for a while until you heal and arent at risk for herniating. Surgeries arent fun but if you have to have them, make the choice that is best for your health. It also doesnt hurt to go to other doctors for different opinions and surgery techniques, it's your body so it should be your choice.
Barbara Sue Terry
I will be undergoing a second surgery for hernia in my groin. The
first surgeon did it Dec 29. Something went wrong and cause one
more closer to my pubic area. Once open can the doctor take time
to explore the entire abdomun since there is history? I know it will make it more cutting, painful and a little longer healing
tme. Do you have any suggesstions?

Sue Terry
very informative... lots of questions for my Dr. during my presurgery visit on 7/9/09 for my Exploratory Laparotomy on 7/31/09...
Farouk Modisane
My daughter is looking at having a lapratomy performed on her as per the docs advise, she has allready hd an endomytriosis and the doc has suggested a laprotomy, what are the dangers associated with this procedure and is it quite safe for her to go ahead with this procedure? your advise would be greatly appreciated thanks,


Farouk Modisane.
Please forward your response to the following email add
I had a laporotomy about 2 weeks ago today to remove endometriosis and an ovary. This was my second time for the laporotomy and I have also had a laproscopy all for the same issue. I was scheduled to go in for an outpatient laproscopy however (and I was informed b4 surgery) If scar tissue had built up which it did they would have to open me up on the bikini line to complete the job. I go for follow up tomorrow and can tell you that I am finally feeling better today for the first time in two weeks. It's not great but good enough to not have to take a bunch of pain medicine. Find a really good doctor, hospital with good rating, and get a second opinion. The procedure is safe if you follow the doctor's directions. Make sure someone will be able to care for your patient once at home because recovery is a real painful event.
Cathy L
I am scheduled to have this procedure next Friday August 21st. Now that I have read all of those horror stories I am very scepticle about having the procedure. I have had numerous Laparoscopies and a hysterectomy. I have cysts, adhesions and fibroids and my small bowel is being constricted. I don't know how else they can possibly fix this without cutting open my stomach. I am hoping the recovery is no worse than hysterectomy recovery. With my hysterectomy my doctor made a 6 inch horizontal incision at my bikini line, it was painful but I felt much better after about 5 days, sore but not unbarable. Can anyone tell me if the recovery is worse then a hysterectomies recovery?
excellent information ,very detailed and easy to understand
Mike B
My mother suffered a major stroke on 2Aug09 and was eating and trying to recover from this, she is 76 yrs. old and then the doctor tells us that she needs an exploratory laparotomy to remove some blockages in the small intestines. Now she is on a breathing vent and feeding tube and all other types of IV's. I just want to know should she have had this procedure done while still trying to recover from a stroke?
I have had bad pain probelms like my stomach in knots since my abdomal mass 2 ovaries removed and exploratory surgery preformed it has been 5 weeks
I just had a laparotomy on September 30 and I was discharged from hospital in 2 days..I am 39 years old and was in good physical condition before the surgery. To my surprise I´m recovering really fast,but I took some supplements before the surgery and I´m taking others after.

Before the procedure (3 weeks before)I used to take a multivitamine and multimineral (ALL ONE)wich has 1 gr. of vitamin C, 1 cap. 200 UI vit E from wheat and mixed tocopherols, 1 cap.20 mg. chelated zinc, 1 gr. omega-3 fish oil and a very good brand of proteolitic (sistemic) enzymes, 3 caps. a day between meals...with bromelain, papain, serrapeptase, nattokinase (this 2 becuause adhesionw were suspected), amylasa, pancreatin, rutin, Co-Q 10...all this ingredients were in the enzymes. I took them 3 months before the procedure.

I stopped the omega, vit.E, vitamin C, and the enzymes 5 days before the procedure, so wouldn´t affect with coagulation during should take care also if you take ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, u other for the same reasons.

I had only a myoma, little one 1.5 cm..but since my uterus was in very bad position, retroverted and to the right, they cut my ligaments and tendons that support them and reposition the uterus in the RIGHT position, chromotubacy was performed inside the fallopian tubes to check for pattency and the frimbias and everything was ok. The scar (incision) was horizontal and 4 to 4.5 inches in lenght (not so small)

I clean my scar every day and apply a good concentrated and clean arnica cream 2 or 3 times a day.

After the surgery I take 50 gr. of rice and pea protein daily mixed with a juice divided in 2 doses, one in the morning and one in the evening, I add 4 extra grams of L-Lysine and 2 gr. of L-Proline with each protein shake. I started to take 3 gr. of buffered time-release vitamin C with flavonoids 3 days after the surgery (for collagen production enhancement).

I take enzymes as well, but without serrapeptase and nattokkinase, I read I must wait some days, but they have bromelain and papain to assist inflammation, and the other ingredients, protease, amylase, rutin, magnesium, Co-Q 10, I take 3 , 2 hours away from meals.And finally I take a good probiotic separated from antibiotics. Also 1 scoop of All one (multivitamin and multimineral with orange or carrot juice)

The 3rd day for me was the most difficult, at 5 days from surgery I´m feeling so much better. I was given 10 mg. ketorolac for pain every 8 hours, and prednisone 20 mg for 10 days (later will be 3 days on 10 mg and 2 days on 5mg), loratadine 10 mg.for 20 days
hi i had a laparotomy to remove a cyst 15cm x 15cm that had formed on my right ovary they also took half of the right ovary was in the hospital for two weeks after and am now left wit part of the wound still open due to a infection that is still weeping after two weeks its been three weeks since my surgery and i have to go back to hospital to talk to the surgens???
aurora baygan
I undergone exploratory laparotomy last january 3,2010 due to ovarian cyst which was raptured,now i'm still on the ptocess of recovery.Before i am just suspecting of UTI because of lower right abdominal pain but when they do ultrasound they found out serious cyst.So for all of us if we feel any discomfort please submit ourself for medical check up..
I had an exploritory laporotomy done approximately 2 years an 2 months ago. I had a cyst on my left tube as well as my ovary. They had to remove my left tube. They took pictures while I was having the surgery of all my organs and the cyst laying on my stomache. One of the largest they had ever seen. I recovered but still have sharp pain where i had the surgery done. I had a very good surgeon because you can barely see my scar. I have just found out that the cyst grew back on my ovary and I will have to have a second one done as well. Hope they dont remove the ovary. I do want kids. Does that mean it will be hard for me to reproduce. I am only 26.???
I had this surgery a week ago, to remove a borderline malignant ovarian cyst, together with a full hysterectomy and biopsy of the omentum. The operation itself was fine, though the trapped wind after the op and bowel pain was something else. I didn't have an option but would reassure anyone not to fear the operation or the recovery, even though it is still early days for me. I had an epidural to help my recovery rather than the usual general anaesthetic, and was unconscious throughout the operation. Hope this reassures.
what are the laparotomy sponges, what they're used for?
hi I had surgery two weeks ago after finding out I had a very large cyst on my right ovary. The cyst was 37cm and they drained 12 pints of fluid from the cyst. I also had my ovary removed as it had been stretched so much. My left ovary is poly cystic and I feared that I wouldn't be able too have a child but doctors have assured me I can still have children just may take a little longer than normal. There is also help out there for you too have tablets too help you ovulate if you do have any problems having children. My surgeon was lovely and it was reassuring too know she had poly cystic ovaries and has three children. Two weeks after my surgery I am feeling allot better the pain is easing every day and things are getting allot easier. I'm only 20 so I suppose iv bounced back I'm still bleeding two weeks post op does anyone know if this is normal?
i attended an exlap operation, and the operation was very enjoyable in the sense that i learned a lot!
I had a gunshot wound so they opened me up. Then they did a "bowel resection" cause the bullet hit some of my intestine. the first 3 days were pretty painful all over, as well as terrible nausea, and perpetual diarrhea. Now, a week later overall pain has gone from a 10/10 to a 2 or 3. I have some kinda other INTENSE pain in my bowels, probably related to the resection I'll find out tomorrow i guess. Moral of the story, make sure you get up and move no matter how much it hurts, it really helps recover and helps get rid of the gas. make sure you don't over exert yourself no matter how mad you are that you cant really do anything. just be patient u will recover eventually.
hi!i am 25 yrs old and i am scheduled to have exploratory lap next week (friday). My ultrasound result is this - There are two, closely apposed complex cystic pelvoabdominal masses, more to the right, each cyst measures 10 x 7.7 cm. and 9 x 6.9 cm. A complex cystic mass is also noted at the left adnexa measuring about 7 x 4.3 cm. Impression:complex cystic masses as described probably due to bilateral ovarian dermoid. the cysts on the right may represent a single mass with loculation and lobulated contour.

Can you please give me your opinion regarding this. do i need to undergo exploratory lap/open surgery? i really need your advice... thanks

can you please send your response to my e-mail add:
it is a very informative and nice article .helped me a lot for understanding various aspects of exploratory laparotomy.
I am a 25 year old male. I had this surgery done 6 days ago and was discharged after 3 1/2 days. The incision is median, about 6" long and required 35 staples to close. I've been on soft foods diet for only 3 days. After only a few bites, I am already bloated, gassy and I feel like Im going to literally bust. I've only had 2 bowel movements since the surgery. I understand that a side effect of hydromorphone and hydrocodone is constipation but I am also taking colace and fiber supplements 3 times daily. Was wondering if any of you who have had this procedure experienced the same digestive problems as I and is it normal.
Hi z
I had the surgery 2 weeks 16 days ago and had 31 staples, My digestive system was the same, i ended up having 3 enimas, senna and lactose, i'm hardley eating much as its painful but it does get easier, i have good and bad days.i had bad pain in my tummy once i have eaten and the doctoe advised me to stop taking anti inflammitry tablets as the can irritate the gut.
good luck in your recovery x
Hi z
I had the surgery 2 weeks 16 days ago and had 31 staples, My digestive system was the same, i ended up having 3 enimas, senna and lactose, i'm hardley eating much as its painful but it does get easier, i have good and bad days.i had bad pain in my tummy once i have eaten and the doctoe advised me to stop taking anti inflammitry tablets as the can irritate the gut.
good luck in your recovery x
I'm a 32 year old woman and thanks to my colleague for pushing me to go get an ultrasound, I discovered in Feb 2010 that I have 2 cysts in my right ovary. Diameter of both is 3cm. I went for a follow up ultrasound in July 2010 - one has grown to 4cm and the other to 3.5cm.

I've had these pains since 2008 but always brushed it off as bad period pain. Cysts did not cross my mind that time. I wrestled with the pain all of 2009, still thinking it's just bad period pain. The pain would sometimes be SO bad during first or second day of period, I have to take painkillers to stop them. I break out into cold sweats and shiver from wrestling with the pain sometimes, just waiting for the painkillers to kick in. Sometimes, the pain makes me feel like I have gastric and that I feel like throwing up. The pain would also act up even when I'm NOT having my period. Feels like it's pushing on my pelvic floor. Sometimes it makes me feel bloaty, like there's so much air inside. I try to pass wind, but nothing comes out. I try to pass motion, but nothing comes out. Though nothing comes out, I feel pain in the rectum region. Sometimes, i DO pass wind or motion. It gives me temporary relief from the pain, and then it acts up again. Other times out of the blue, the pain would be at my lower abdomen and at the top of my legs (upper thigh on the sides). Feels like it's attacking my nerves in my hips, and I get the sensation that it's sorta like becoming numb.

A few days ago, I saw a gynae and she explained to me that it is most likely endometriosis. She recommends removal by laparotomy. I asked about doing the less-invasive laparoscopy, she said she could do it but I had to keep in mind that there was always the possibility that a laparotomy had to be done if laparoscopy is not sufficient.

I need advice. What are the risks if i DO or DO NOT do a laparotomy? I heard that with a laparotomy, they'd be able to get a better look and clean out the cysts and endometriamas more thoroughly than with laparoscopy?
Hi Amy...
I had this surgery over 4 weeks ago now to remove a hematoma, and am also experiencing the same kind of digestive problems... stomach pains, painful bloating and gas, the only difference is I also have diarrhoea! Nice! Please tell me that this has eased for you... I've gotta believe this gets better!!!
just had a pendunculated fibroid removed that was hanging between my right ovary and uterus, my right ovary is still intact. the doctor began the procedure as a laporoscopic procedure b/c the fibroid was about the size of a tennis ball, they had to stop that procedure and perform the Laparotomy, sm incision on my bikini line. The surgery went well about 1 hr and 45 min. (I just had one fibroid which was removed - no other fibroids were found) and I was released the same day b/c the doctor said I was so healthy. I had it removed b/c I believe it is affecting my ability to get pregnant.

The second night after my surgery I got up out of bed too quickly and it hurt in my left side inside. The pain subsided. On the fourth day I was walking around, slowly for about 20 minutes and the same pain came back inside my left side. It subsided when I rested. There are no bruises, no pus, no bleeding on the three areas where the incisions were made. The stirry strips have been left in place, but my gauze and special tape has been replaced twice.

Am I just being paranoid, is this normal? I also hate to say it, but it has been 2 weeks and a couple of days and I really wish I could walk more and be not totally active as I was previously, but just be able to walk some more - maybe like 2 miles, I was used to running about 4-5 miles 3 times a week. How long does it take to heal? I have also noted 2 days ago that not at the IV site, but just below it a vein close to me left wrist bone has swollen up/raised, it feels like a bruise, should I be concerned about that? I also stopped taking the painkillers three days ago, I don't want to be constipated. Also it has been just 2 weeks and a cpl of days and already my job is asking when I think I am going to be ready to come back, my recovery was 4-6 weeks. Also my sticthes are scheduled to be removed five weeks after my surgery - is this normal as well? Can someone provide feedback about recovery time and what patients will typically experience after surgery.
hi amanda, yees it does ease and get back to normal, make sure you tell the nurse so they can help and give you something to ease it. i'm about 10 weeks post op now, the healing process is painfull some days and ok others, because of the location of the laparotmy its sometimes frustrating that you cant have 5 minutes let up from the uncomfortable feeling. i feel we are just left to get on alone once we are discharged! hopefully in time the tight uncomfortable feeling will ease, pain killers are definatly a life saver! if anyone wants to chat feel free to email me . amy
a thomas
i had a laporoscopy on 0ct 29/10 ,i have a cyst removed and adhesions. my initial symptom before diagnosis was a heavy feeling in the lower vagina.

since today the dragging has reappeared, i have to see the surgeon for a post op in december and i am worried he may want to repeat the procedure.
any advice would be helpful.
As a student medical history, I wish to correct the improper use of the term laparotomy to mean the exploration of the abdomen. The Greek lapara is the area between the short ribs and iliac bone ie the flank. Initial operations were performed outside of the abdominal cavity as its entrance had a high attendent mortality due to infection. The proper term for entrance into the abdominal cavity or coelom is coeliotomy or celiotomy. Unfortunately, the improper use of the term laparotomy is so ingrained that it will be difficult if not impossible to change. However, this does not mean that its published definition should be also be erroneous.
Hello just read all the comments,i am due to have my operation thurs 27th laparotomy.I have had serious abdominal pain for over 10 yrs now after numerous scans and being wrongly diagnosed with irritable bowel,i had the camera and was told my ovaries are attached to my pelvic wall and my fallopian tubes are damaged lots of adhesions stopping me from conceiving.Has anyone had this op to help with conceiving?as cant find any info concerning this .Also some horror stories about the scarring and recovery , so worried can anyone help.
I had a laparotomy (I have stable congestive heart failure and my doctor felt that inflation that's part of laparoscopy would be dangerous for my heart) 11 days ago after ultrasound showed one of my larger ovarian cysts had doubled in size in 4 months. I've had several episodes of pain over the last couple of years severe enough to require ER visit, and my doctor also believed I had endometriosis. Sure enough, surgery revealed that I did, and the endometriosis completely "obliterated" both ovaries according to surgeon...both ovaries and both tubes removed, uterus left. I was released from the hospital after only two days because I'm recovering very well. It's a large vertical incision, about 8 inches, and the staples were removed yesterday. Last night after bending very slightly in a seated position, I sprung a small leak in my incision...tiny, but boy did it bleed a lot. Direct pressure stopped the bleeding after a few minutes, and it's been fine since. My pain has been minimal and very manageable with occasional percocet. The incision looks really horrible, but I can only hope that with time, and as the inflammation and swelling completely go away, that it will look a little better. But overall, I'm astonished at how minimal my pain has been, and aside from being tired and cautious about how I bend or shift, at how normal I feel in less than two weeks. Hopefully the endometriosis won't come back though...although I've been very fortunate in my recovery thus far, this surgery isn't something I'd want to do twice.
This article has educated me a lot.I am a 19 year old midwifery student.
i did my loprotomy 1.5year ago i m rarely feeling pain in my abdomin and pelvis and slight pain in my whole abdomin and tempararily wht should the problem with me and i wss not feeing pain after 9 months such condition however i do lot of the exercrcise why now im feeling such pain in blooder plz tell me the medicines to to useful for this problem
my mother in law had laparatomy for her 9cm cyst on her ovary,she is ok thank god. yr explanations are great thanks alot for such detailed explanations.
I Have Recently Had This Operation Done And Am Still In Recovery, Was In Hospital For 7days, Though The Procedue Was Painless The Recovery Was Not, Im Now Suffering From Bloating and Trapped Wind Which Is Very Painful, Doctors Cant Prescribe Medication as It Stops Other Meds From Working, Does Anyone Have Any Tips Or Ways To Reduce This Pain?
my doctor recommended explaratory laparotomy to remove fibroids i 've on different locations. i really want to have children for my husband immediately after this procedure,but i am really scared of what i cannot tell.But,i have to do it to end the heavy bleeding i am having.
Both of my tubes are block from scare tussuie and I want kids my doc wont do thr laposcopey cause she say it wont help only thing will help is the ivf
Respected Doctor,
I have a genuine problem please help me for God sake. I m 33 years old , married since 7 years and 4 months, Feb 2011 , i got pregnant first time, but it was ectopic pregnancy in my right tube. Doctor recommended Laparotomy and said ur left tube is also blocked or damaged, due to Laparoscopy done in 2008. They also said that ur tube size is small of 4cm. They removed my Two months Ectopic pregnancy with my right tube. and left my left side tube. now please guide me whether i become mother or not? i have no kid and want to concieve i m too tenssed please help me.. i m waiting ur urgent reply
I had a total hysterectomy by laparotomy, across pubic line 6 weeks ago now.I am 58 years old and was suffering from dysmennhorea and had a fibroidy uterus.
Although post-op recovery was quite unpleasant with lots of pain and gripey wind pain, I am finally feeling more normal again. I do have a feeling of numbness combined with a tingling sensation between my umbilicus and the incision line which gets irritated by clothing.This is usually by the day end and when I have been walking a lot.
My surgeon applied a wide dressing strip along the wound and has advised me to change it daily and to continue applying Micropore tape for up to 6 months to prevent scarring. Already my scar is very fine and is becoming difficult to see.
I had a total hysterectomy by laparotomy, across pubic line 6 weeks ago now.I am 58 years old and was suffering from dysmennhorea and had a fibroidy uterus.
Although post-op recovery was quite unpleasant with lots of pain and gripey wind pain, I am finally feeling more normal again. I do have a feeling of numbness combined with a tingling sensation between my umbilicus and the incision line which gets irritated by clothing.This is usually by the day end and when I have been walking a lot.
My surgeon applied a wide dressing strip along the wound and has advised me to change it daily and to continue applying Micropore tape for up to 6 months to prevent scarring. Already my scar is very fine and is becoming difficult to see.
Hi, I had a laparotomy 10 weeks ago today, to remove omentum, appendix, right ovary and tube and lymph nodes, 3 months previous I had a laparoscopy to remove a 10cm cyst from my right ovary. The cyst burst during the procedure and I was 2 and a half hours being cleaned up. The 2nd surgery was done because they found a small complex serous cyst on the original cyst. What I want to know is was the 2nd surgery done because of the spillage and if there was no spillage would I have needed the 2nd op. Thank you.
I had laparotomy done 6 months ago to remove 8 fibroids, 3 of which is the size of a football. The big ones were 12cmx11cmx10cm EACH.My doctor has at least 30yrs of experience & he said this is one of the worse he had seen.I didn't have any symptoms for first 5 yrs other than look pregnant & all of a sudden in a matter of weeks; I was dealing with dangerously high blood-pressure, failing liver & kidneys & very low red blood count, very low potassium & iron,& i was peeing 50 times/day.I was in & out of emergency twice because my bp shot up to 210/98 due to the fibroids & I was on the verge of heart-attack & stroke.I was scheduled for laparotomy in a week coz my kidneys were failing.I was too tired to be stressed about the surgery but recovery was one word->very painful.My incision was 11" horizontal across my abdomen.The first 3 days I was in so much pain I can't move,can't cry,can't sleep,can't eat & I was on both IV morphine & oral pain killers. Then, they force you to cough so that you don't catch pneumonia-that really hurt big time.The morphine also made me itch.I was out of hospital in 2 days & the next 8 weeks it was just pain.It took about 10 weeks to START feeling better & about 6 mths to be better & I'm still feeling tired & trying to raise my iron level.I still feel the occasional jab of extreme pain as if someone had stabbed you with a knife but I no longer feel like I am dying.My doctor did a great job because I would've been dead if not for him saving my life.I also thank the Lord for letting me meet my doctor at the emergency & I was originally scheduled an appointment with the same doctor but a few months down the road.I wouldn't have been able to wait that few months because I was sure I would have been dead.
My wife has been suffering for almost a year now and requires a hysterectomy. She has multiple fibroids and also a growth now inside her. She throws up and bleeds contantly, she is going insane with pain and it has been very hard on the whole family. We just want her to have the operation but with mulitply MRI and CTSCANS and her even deciding to switch Doctors as nothing was happening has now delayed the surgery even longer. She had morphine and bleeding pills to help her but she still has had a blood tranfusion and we have rushed her to the hospital 6 - 8 times ourselves and called 911 at least 4 or 5 times now and rushed her in they give her more pain killers and send her home. All I can say is if anyone is out there that thinks they might be able to help her situation and what to do please email me.

She is in so much pain sometimes she just wants her life to end, this is crazy and she doesn't mean it but I don't blame her ... I cannot believe how long it is taking.

Ottawa, Ontario
Just recovering from my second laparatomy - 4th abdominal surgery -it was quite a shock as I had been in great health since the last one two years previously and in fact had been in the gym earlier in the day! I have to say that I think part of the reason for my comparatively slow recovery this time is that the nursing care in British hospitals has really gone downhill in the last two years (probably due to austerity measures in our health care system) and my experience is generally that how you feel psychologically affects how you recover physically. My laparotomy this time was slightly more drastic than my last one, but was for the same reason: to separate adhesions from previous surgery, and this being the case it is of course likely that I may have to have the surgery again which is quite depressing. However I recognise that I am lucky! I recover quite well inbetween surgeries and it is good to know I am not the only person going through this! If nothing else we are all survivors - right?! Lots of love to you all from London, England
I am 24yrs old and had a laparoscopic surgery to remove a large paratubal cyst on my left fallopian tube, surgery went well, recovery went well, but it grew back in two months and now i have a laparotomy scheduled, not only did it grow back but its the same size as the other one was.They say it should be same day surgery so i'm hoping on that, my concerns are having kids, and what if it grows back in another two months?? what's recovery time like ? Any information would be great, surgery is scheduled jan 24th.
I recently had to undergo a lapradomy and let me tell you it is one of the most painful surgeries to handle. The recovery is rough. I dont care what people say whether you can take pain or not your gonna feel it. Im recovering from 1/16/12. I cant say that if I would've read this article first maybe I would've changed my mind because I am nervous now especially about pneumonia and proper healing. However I trust that God has led me to an excellent surgeon who wants what is best for me because I want a child.The surgery was a last resort if he couldnt fix with the scope and he did what he had to do. In the end all I can focus on is that through all this pain im feeling it has to be worth it because with the complications im here to appreciate another day to later try to concieve because you know what I almost didnt make it to say that.
guys i also need help i had a laparotomy last year in october they removed 1 big cyst on my right ovaries and two on my left never been remomed coz the doctor said they are too small to be remove but now im still experiencing the same pain and its worse now i had 2 miscarriages and im still trying to concieve but im failing please help to get rid of the pain what must i do to have a baby pls reply asap the pain is killing me.
My husband has just had a laparotomy. He went to day surgery for a knee op and should have been in overnight. He ended up having emergency surgery 2 days later. He had no bowel sounds and vomited any fluids or food. The surgeon stated that the c.t scan showed a tumour which would result in a colostomy. we were delighted but confused when we were told not only didnt they find a tumour but there was nothing at all. He is now recovering from his op. was this op necessary? they say it could be the results of having an epidural anaesthetic.
My husband had a laparotomy 8 days ago for an inflammed apendix and hernia. He was on antibiotics, the same night of the operation he had a fever. The third day after the operation the fever got worse and the doctors said he had sellulites under the skin next to the wound, he was put onto another antibiotic. Its the 8 day now and he still gets fever spells. He is not vomiting and he doesnt have any severe pain, its only the fever? What could that mean?
why sometimes i still feel pain at my laparotomy scars even though it already 5years after laparotomy
i did a laparoscopy in 2007 that showed that my tubes has multiple adhesions, and after my operation the resurts said that my chances of conceiving are poor.. anyone with help any information what to do after. i dont have a child of my own and im 34 years old.
I'm 30 years old, and I had an Ex-Lap a couple weeks ago due to a severe auto accident while on vacation in Thailand. I had internal bleeding from a ruptured liver and had to have emergency surgery. I have an incision running vertically from my sternum to below my belly button, and since the ambulance rushed me to a Thai Government Hospital, there was a serious language barrier. None of the staff spoke any English at all and I don't speak Thai, so I have a few questions that were never answered (or I guess a better way to put it, they were never properly understood). When can I take my bandage off (for good)? It was changed once before the staples were removed, once after, and once by myself, because it accidentally got wet and was falling off. I'm back in the U.S and my insurance has lapsed, so if anyone could help with some free advice, I'd be extremely grateful!
I had this Ex-Lap as a result of a missing I.U.C.D,used for family planning.It led to some complications after the surgery like my kidney collapsed,potassium dropped,infection,my bowels opened,my B.P dropped to 50/60 etc.i am grateful to God that i survived.But i noticed my monthly periods takes sometimes 2weeks interval since after the surgery in May 15,2011.Why is it so?
it looks as if this type of operation is mostly done on women. I had mine at d age of 22, on 4th February 2012, bcos of perforated gastric ulcer(in my stomach) and peritonitis.I had to stay in d male surgical ward for more than 3weeks.I don't wish any one to pass through such painful experience even my worst enemy bcos d pain both before and after the operation was more than too much on me.I stayed for 5 good days without water nor food passing through my throat,I was living on drip and drugs/injection.I started eating watery food to solid through semi-solid foods,it was horrible but after some weeks,d pain was limited to d scar.I'm currently battling wit eating too much so as to replenish d lost tissues.I thank God for a successful operation and I pray that there will be no future re-occurance nor complicatin bcos I can't imagine myself going through this hell the second time.pls if u do have heartburn,go and check urself against ulcer. If u are an ulcer patient,pls abstain from fasting,eat good food always and drink plenty of water on daily basis,always verify from ur physician before taking any drug bcos ibuprofene,aspirin and some other Non-steroid anti inflamatory drugs can cause severe complications in ulcer patients ,taking myself as a living case study.pls be always prayerful bcos God is capable of changing ur situation wether u did operation or not,bcos He is the One that gives children.
Have 7" vertical laparotomy incision. ER Doctor found intussusception on 2 ct scans. Had immediate surgery but intussusception was gone after they opened me up. at 3 weeks post op, pain level never falls below a 7. Pain extends all along incision and radiates outward across entire abdomen. Have terrible gas and belching. Have constant nausea. Unable to sleep because of pain. Most painful when sitting but even lying down is uncomfortable.Bowel movements are slow and very irregular. I lost more than 15 pounds but my previos;y falt stomach is now swollen, hard and miss-shapen. Have had surgery before but never had such a painful and debilitating recovery.
im 25 and recently had a laparotomy surgery to cut and reattach my intestines, its been a week nowand im leaking fluid from my incision, some of my staples are out but theyve left some in as its wet and i suppose not healing properlY, is this normal? its not sore its just annoying, i only change my dressings at night but it does cover the majority of the pad. has anyone else experienced this??
I had the surgery in jan 2012 I am 60 and never ever had surgery before never broke leg arm anything as kid or adult no medical insurance and never ever had doctor and at my aage I thought who needs one. Now that i have very little money and may unanswered questions AND TO ADD TO THAT MY GREATEST FEAR IS NOW ADHESSIONS AND HAVING TO DO IT AGAIN I WISH I WOULD HAVE DIED THE FIRST TIME. is there ever a case of not going again and not getting adhesions. those other methods of keeping adhesions at bay Wurn. I cant afford cant even afford medical insurance dont qualify for medical wich is crazy as the highest yearly wage in 10 years for me was 14,700.00. Anyway any chance some could get me exact herbal mixture i need and how to mix it step by step as well as where to get mixtures to maintain adhesions. If not i will get do not rececessitate papers so i will die next time and i dont want to die yet. I was in hospital 8days sais I had small intestional blockage due to old infestion i,d had for years and adhesions developed. It says i havean implant on one of my hospital bills. I havent anyone to ask what the hell is in me and why I nnever had problems going to bathroom or eating but was in pain of and on for 10 years. have 2 hernias thought it was they who were paining me and bulging like balloon in groin area. Only nausua the 2 days before emergency and could not hold anything and pain so unbearable passed out level 5 emergency. My stomach is now huge as if a baloon were in it no pain everthing ok from that stand point but im not going to eat solid food now for fear of adhesions
hi, i just had a laparatomy 8 days ago...but there is a place where some bloodysh fluid is coming out. am taking antibiotics and haemovt syrup. what should i do for the fluid to stop? what should i do to regain my usual small abdomen?
Hi. Had laparotomy in June 2012. Initial diagnosis viral gastroenteritis. Initially went to hospital for diagnosis of this on a friday and discharged on the saturday. On the monday, my stomoach had swollen so much, i looked like i was six months pregnant, it was painful and i could not stop vomiting. GP sent me back to hospital and was seen immediately, the pain was excruciating, they had to give me morphine - wow!!! Assessed - found out that i had adhesions attached to my bowel and admitted to ward. Monitored, drips, nil by mouth and in pain, operation scheduled for the sunday - really did not want this - had countless x-rays (incl the one with this fluid they give you which is supposed to try and get rid of problem). Operation successful but i was in agony, it is a major surgery so recovery time is awful - all in all in hospital for 10 days. At home now recovering - stomach is going down now - i too have lumps under my scar at the start of the incision - weird feeling. i dont eat as much now - lost loads of weight. I hope it gets better.
In April of 2001, I had to have an emergency exploratory lap due to surgeon error. The incision was horizontal right above my pubic bone. I started feeling better about 4 weeks post-op. In January 2002, I had a TAH, leaving my ovaries. Incision was made in same place as previous surgery. Recovery took longer and I didn't feel "normal" until about 10-12 months out. In September 2008, a 8 cm cyst was discovered on my left ovary. I wanted both ovaries removed at that time, but due to family history of breast cancer, my physician didn't want to put me on estrogen. Incision was again horizontal at same site as previous surgeries. May 2012, a cyst was discovered at the site of my left ovary. Apparently a piece of ovary was left in previous surgery. Another exploratory Lap was scheduled for May 21. Due to the 3 previous surgeries, my GYN had a general surgeon assist. The incision is vertical from my belly button down about 7-8 inches. They removed the left cyst, right ovary, appendix and tried to remove as much of the adhesions as possible. A Meckel's Diverticulum was discovered at that time and removed. Surgery was scheduled for 2 hours and lasted 4 hours. Much scar tissue & a lot of adhesions were present due to 3 previous surgeries. They also inserted a ureter stent, Foley & NG tube. Before surgery, I was given meds to relax and sedate me. An epidural was put in place. I don't remember even going into the OR. When I was coming out of the general, I was in a great deal of pain. They bollosed (SP) the epidural and when that was unsuccessful, they finally hooked me up to a PCA pump with morphine. 3 days post, Foley & stent were removed. Also NG tube. I was discharged 5 days post-op with Norco for pain. I was in severe pain, but waited a day to call surgeon. A higher strength of Norco was called in. It was Memorial Day weekend & a MAJOR pharmacy chain closed early on Sunday & was not open at all on Monday. On Monday the pain was more than I could bear. My GYN advised my husband to take me to the ER immediately. They started an IV and I was given dilaudid. X-rays showed an intestinal blockage. I was re-admitted and another NG tube was put in place. During this admission, I contracted some kind of infection at the site of the incision. I remained in the hospital for 8 more days. I am now 20 weeks post-op and still having issues. The doctors are concerned, but not surprised that I am slow in recovery. They say it is to be expected with the type of surgery & the complications that arose. I am impatient. I'm not used to my recovery taking so long. My bowels are not regular. I am on Miralax 2x daily. They removed my appendix to lessen the chance that I would require another Lap. I wish they would have taken my gall bladder out too. That's all I need.
Evelyn Nakabira
Iam happy am not alone am in Uganda and am scheduled for a laporatomy 2daus to come been damn worried atleast no as much worried as I've been.
I lost my sister 2 days ago due to the Laparotomy surgery...There is more risk in having laparotomy surgery.
I am hoping that this information helps in some way
nura muhd muaz
pls where are the answers to the above questions? i want to ask another
patient is having a colon cancer, exploratomy laporatomy was done,is the large amount of drainage is expected ?
Otilia Daki
I had laparatomy in January 2013. My instestines had twisted. Now I feel stabbing pains on my left side.
What could it be. I am scared to undergo another surgery as I was put on oxygen for days immediately after surgery.
I had a laparatomy exploration 5months ago and the surgeon cut some part of my colon. i was wondering how long would my colon get healed and my incision? things just went normal except for some times i can still feel the pain inside my abdomen am sure it is because of my incision. my skin just got completely healed and only scars that remains. That's what it show outside, but what about internal? Please i need some advices. Thank you
Mohammad Isaaq
Best simple article! It would be better with more images and picutres and tables.
This is a surgery that I am all too familiar with (male, late 20's). Being a preemie, along with a car accident which put me in ICU for eight months when I was 7, and more than 30 abdominal surgeries (all were laparotomies) resulting from the accident (I was tube fed for a year, and had a g-tube until I was 12; multiple drain tubes were in, and had to wear an oxygen mask for six months). At age 10, I had to have another exploratory laparotomy, which the doctor botched by cutting something he shouldn't, which meant hundreds of blood transfusions, and more surgeries (peritonitis). Unfortunately, bleeding, infections, and hernias happen more times than not (I guess, I am just a bad case). Now, my belly looks like a bloated, swollen road map, which feels like I am being punched in the stomach constantly. My last surgery was in 2005, when I had another incisional hernia (ventral). The doctor wants to do more surgery, but I needed a break. I hate it also when I am being told that I would be getting a laparoscopic surgery, but I wake up with a 14" cut down my belly. I have developed adhesions now; therefore, surgery is coming soon. Laparotomies mean oxygen mask and restraints for me, and I am very claustrophobic. My sister just had one in December for bleeding after an appendectomy. I am just hoping that she does not get a hernia. I am always afraid of what will happen after surgery; one seems to lead to five. I feel sorry for everyone on here; I do not wish it on anyone. It seems like everybody gets complications after a surgery like this.
I just had exploratory laparotomy almost 3 weeks ago to remove a droid cyst in my left ovarie. I was 17 weeks pregnant at the time and my doctor said it needed to be removed because it would cause complications for delivery because of the size and location. (7cm) I had the option to wait but it could move (fold on itself) and cause severe pain and ER surgery and the baby would have to deliver immediately. The cyst was so big they had to remove my left ovarie and tube along with it. I decided to go through with the surgery and it has been a painful recovery. My incision is just like a c-section scar. I read it takes another week or so to fully recover. I was told I do not have to have a c-section at delivery time and I will be able to get pregnant again with no problems. This is my third pregnancy and probably my last. Good luck to everyone having this surgery, expect 4 weeks minimum to recover.
I am 24 hours released from a Laparotomy, they removed my last ovary. Within the last 2 years I've gone threw 4 surgeries with one that included a thermal ablation. I was diagnosed with endometrioses several years ago and at 43 I'm finally have no uterus and no ovaries. My concern now is with these last 2 surgeries I'm developing scar tissue which is connecting my organs together, like my bowel to ovary (when it was there) and once to my vagina. Anyone have any feedback on this, I feel like now that I've finally fixed the endometriosis now I have to deal with the scar tissue!
Bobby B
Talked to my surgon about pain and I was told its from strength training and that I will never be able to do heavy or extra heavy physical work without creating a surgical hernia. Looking for advice or options .
Very informative. I understand that Laparotomy can be considered a major operation and the wound resulting from the incision requires healing process. Someone very close to me has just had a Laparotomy and I would like to have an idea of the healing time/stages/process from the day of the surgery to when the person can come back to normal activity (walk-bend-travel-work) granting no complication nor any other procedure is needed to be done. The information you could give will be a great help the care giver so that proper attention and care and understanding can be provided the person. Thank you.
My boyfriend had laparotomy surgery last year july 2013 and he is still in some pain from time to time also feels like its tearing inside his lower stomach? Any info is appreciated
Can anyone tell me if they have been successful with recovery to start excercising again? its been 8 weeks since my lap and i used to be quite active in gym and in general. Right now i feel like it wont be happening for a few months still but after reading some of the above im starting to think my days of sit ups are over. is this right? i understand that everyone is different but i havent read to many good luck stories as yet.
So I had a wreak 7 years ago and I have abdominal trauma and I also a laparotomy surgery and they cut me down my stomach. I am now pregnant and I'm trying to find out if I'm going to be ok?
Any help please
Wow lots of comments, so many stories! I thought I would share mine, I will be leaving out gross details. I was sexually assaulted almost 8 years ago and required laparotemy. This was due to whatever foreign object (I don't remember nor did I consent to) had gone completely through my vaginal wall and past the peritaneum. So I had emergency surgery, I was also losing a lot of blood. They started the laparotemy as exploratory as they could not tell where the blood was coming from. I was in the hospital for 4 days. After I went home, I think a week or two after surgery for checkup. He found my incision was infected and he had to reopen it. So it was a battle to heal the next 3 months, which I had to go daily to the hospital for wound care. The problem was I had developed MRSA during the surgery. My incision did not heal right and I have always been self conscious about it. People I have been with refer to it as a second belly button, it's offensive. I actually started pelvic physical therapy almost with help pelvic pain. I had to have a laparotemy again 2 weeks ago for a cyst on my ovary, they were sure they could do it laparoscopic but I had so much scar tissue and adhesions they had no choice but laparotemy. I had the adhesions a large part because of my previous surgery and problems with healing. I actually had adhesions the first ssurgery. I was told due to untreated STD from childhood. Luckily whatever it was I at some point got treated. So my hospital stay this time was 4 days and they used something called a prevena it's a wound vac, I guess it is common with c sections now. This device had become overfilled with drainage and had to be turned off and removed when my obgyn opened. When they did this they realized a good,portion of my incision did not heal much at all, the device was supposed to speed up healing. So I have begun wound care again and didn't even make it a whole week. I had to goto the ER for worst pain I have ever had and a high fever that was going higher. Luckily after being admitted there was no infection, actually pain was from pressure build up from drainage and hematoma. So Dr hhad to reopen the incision again this time. I was in the hospital for another 4 days. While there they attached a regular wound vac and sent me home with a mobile one which I have to wear all the time and get It replaced every 2 days. I honestly was expecting this surgery to not be as simple as they hoped. Unfortunately this surgery is very close to the event causing my first laparotemy, in which I had nearly died in two ways, one was extreme loss of blood in a short amount of time, I was 20 at the time. I don't know how much longer I will have the wound vac. They ended up having to remove the full ovary and fallopian tube because they had stuck together too much from the adhesions. The surgery this time around took 4 hours mostly of which was due to adhesions from prior laparectomy which was almost 4 hours and mainly due to adhesions. There is a high chance I will have to repeat this surgery again at some point to remove adhesions, I just simply do not heal in that area well. I hope no one has to go through what I did with the first time but just to put It out there, if you have one laparectomy there is a higher likelihood of adhesions, more so if there was difficulty healing. I wish everyone who comes across this luck and good healing.
Oh and gina from above comment, if you didn't read my comment above I talk a little bit about dealing with scar tissue. I have only had 2 laparotemies now but have had complications with both. Just know you are not alone. If you get pelvic pain from the scar tissue, they do have physical therapists that work with just pelvic related issues. The one I saw was able to loosen some of my scar tissue from my incision and it helped, she mainly massaged the area. But they have exercises too to help with pelvic pain. Good luck to you,and no offense I hope I don't end up with the amount of laparotimies you have had to go through. I'm only 28 and I already know I won't likely be able to have children, but I can hope it will at least be more than 8 years between surgeries this time.
Father in law had exploratory Laparotomy listed on death certificate as operation performed prior to a series of events that lead to final cause of death.

This procedure lead to a leak of his intestine that caused an infection inside that could not be contained after 10 days with antibiotics. He had to go into surgery again to clean and repair any damage. His condition severely deteriorated and was put into icu immediately after surgery where he spent the next 3 weeks intubated. They kept him under fentanyl the entire time. Week 4 in the ICU his kidney failed and had dialysis once a day which quickly became twice a day until he passed 4.5 weeks in the icu. I just wanted to share my experience and mention that this procedure requires a very long and difficult recovery if you are young and no recovery for my father in law age 80 who only had only mild stomach pains prior.
Worried and Anxious
I am 48 and had a hysterectomy for a couple of grapefruit sized fibroids in Oct 2010 (I was 43 at that time). I have always had irregular periods, severe cramps, and approximately 6 months prior to the hysterectomy, I was on my period 3 weeks out of the month. (It was unbearable!) I was always wearing a pad or a liner. They discovered the fibroids and they hysterectomy was the only option. They also drained a cyst on my left ovary and left them both after removal of my uterus. I had a very difficult time healing after the surgery. I also suffer from degenerative disk disease in my lumbar area (lower back) and have chronic back pain. I have been on a regimen of OxyContin, Percocet, and occasional steroid injections for the last 10 years. The doctors did not keep me on my regular pain meds and I suffered terrible withdrawal pains, accompanied with pain from the surgery. It was a nightmare! After three days of torture, one of the doctors finally listened to me, gave me my regular pain meds, along with meds for the surgery, and I started to feel better. I have some serious scar tissue and lately have been having some really bad cramps, and almost labor-like pain. I had a pelvic ultrasound performed and they found a 10+cm cyst on that dammed left ovary. I am facing a laparotomy and I'm really worried. I was in so much pain and discomfort from my hysterectomy, that I am dreading this upcoming surgery. I was given the option of scheduling the laparotomy or scheduling another pelvic ultrasound to see if the cyst might shrink. Of course I went with the pelvic ultrasound. Well today is the day...and I am praying for shrinkage; although I am not too optimistic due to the large size of the cyst. I was informed that it probably would not shrink, but there was a chance, so I had to take that chance. Please wish me luck and shrinkage!!! My prayers to ALL OF YOU who face health challenges and uncertainties.
I had done laparatomy for pelvic on 2005 october 14 but am experiencing lot of pains since from 2010 till today and i want to know do i still become a mother in my life? And my marriage husband need a baby what should i do about this?
I have a lot of adhesions from previous surgeries. I frequently get a blocked bowel because the bowel catches onto the scare tissue. No surgery for it, however, is there ANY method of getting or reducing the adhesions?
I will be having my 5th abdomen surgery. Granted, the recovery is difficult and you do have to follow the surgeon's instructions Funny, how that works. He/she is cutting you or at least me from sternum to pubic hair area and it is supposed to not be uncomfortable for a while? I, like some other people on here nearly crashed and burned. To quote my surgeon "by the grace of GOD" you are alive. I have visited the ER 6 times in the past year and a half, hospitalized all but one for twisted bowels. Had two resections, mesh in,mesh out. Not looking forward to the surgery but I am looking forward to not making frequent trips to the hospital with pains that double you up. 75 yo male.
Patrice Hamden
I was given a barium enema while I had peritonitis from a ruptured appendix so ended up with a belly of barium. This was found during a laporoscopy. Could this have contributed to the avascular necrosis in both knees and my right hip. I also developed osteomyelitis in my L/jaw. I’m curious as to the reason.
Any thoughts?
Wow I'm not alone! Here's my case

I'm scheduled for a laparoscopic myomectomy in a couple of weeks for a LARGE 11 by 11cm subserosal uterine fibroid that bulges out sometimes which kinda makes me look like I'm expecting.

I feel the lump when I'm laying down on my back mostly; its large, firm and mobile (it moves when i apply a bit of pressure). I'm only 23 yrs old going on 24. Also my period has become quite irregular and i feel very heavy at times. There is an extremely low chance this myomectomy would be converted to a laparotomy as per the surgeon.

I'm worried that this fibroid may be uterine sarcoma/cancer that has been misdiagnosed. I'm scared that during the surgery, the doctor might have to switch to a laparotomy due to the SIZE and nature of this growth. If a laparoscopic myomectomy is performed, I'm worried that the morcellation technique would worsen the growth or state. I'm scared of the general idea and nature of surgery, either laparoscopic or open.

I'm trying to stay hopeful, positive and optimistic about this procedure and my future but the truth is that I'm really scared, stressed and worried, especially closer to date. I definitely also want to keep my chances and options of having kids naturally.

I want to completely trust the diagnosis and doctors but i always have doubt, and that's fine, nothing is 100% and people are different. So many questions.

Please kindly advise on my concerns and share your thoughts.

My father has been diagnosed with an abscess in the abdominal region. It is not malignant but needs to be removed. The surgery is described as Incision and Drainage with Laparotomy - to check what other organs the abscess has possibly affected. He is 80 years old - generally healthy but very weak (possibly also from the infection that has caused the abscess) - also overweight from years of sedentary lifestyle. I sought a second opinion and it seems the surgery is unavoidable though the doctor prescribed additional tests which I'm not sure i should subject him to if ultimately we have to do the surgery. How risky should I consider this surgery and the recovery process?

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