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Ask The Vet: Laparoscopic Surgery by Stefanie Wong
November 7, 2016

Ask the Vet: Is minimally invasive surgery an option?

More and more often, minimally invasive surgery is becoming the new standard of care in human medicine.  It's a relatively new field in veterinary medicine, but one that is constantly growing and expanding.  Minimally invasive surgery hsa many benefits, including smaller incisions, less patient discomfort, shorter hospitalization times, and faster recoveries.

At BRVC, we offer laparoscopic-assisted liver biopsies, prophylactic gastropexies (to prevent against GDV or bloat) and cystoscopy in order to evaluate the bladder and take biopsies.

How does Laparoscopy work?

Laparoscopy involves making a few small incisions (approximately 1-2 cm in length) in order to insert portals.  These portals allow us to insert cameras to view the abdomen's internal structures (images that they capture are projected onto a screen in front of the surgeon showing a real-time movie projection of the abdomen) as well as allow us to insert instruments to help us perform surgery.  Laparoscopic liver biopsy is extremely helpful in that we can visualize the liver without having to make a large abdominal incision, take targeted biopsies of any masses or growths that we find and obtain larger sized samples to help get a definitive diagnosis.

What is a prophylactic gastropexy?

Gastropexy involves suturing the stomach to the wall of the abdomen.  This prevents it from twisting on itself, which we call a Gastric Dilation Volvulus (or GDV, bloat).  This can quickly become a life-threatening condition.  We recommend all deep chested (especially large breed) dogs at risk get a prophylactic gastropexy at time of spay or neuter.


If your pet has a growth or mass within their bladder, cystoscopy can often be helpful in getting a diagnosis.  We insert a tiny camera up their urethra and into the bladder in order to view the inside of the bladder and take biopsies.  No incisions are made and the recovery time is very quick.  This is helpful in determining if the mass is benign or cancerous.

At BRVC, our goal is to provide your pet with the best options for care.  As the field continues to grow, we will work to continue to offer more procedures.

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