Find us on Social Media:

Exploratory Laparotomy
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Exploratory Laparotomy?

This is an open surgery of the abdomen to view the organs and tissue inside.

Abdominal Organs, Anterior View
Abdominal Organs, Anterior View
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

This procedure is done to evaluate problems in the abdomen.

Problems that may need to be examined with an exploratory laparotomy include:

  • A hole in the bowel wall
  • Ectopic (outside the womb) pregnancy
  • Endometriosis
  • Appendicitis
  • Damage to an organ from trauma
  • Infection in the abdomen
  • Cancer

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a laparotomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to organs
  • Hernia formation
  • Large scars
  • Reaction to the anesthesia

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Previous abdominal surgery
  • Diabetes
  • Heart or lung disease
  • Weak immune system
  • Blood disorders
  • Taking certain medicines
  • Smoking, alcohol abuse, or drug use

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Fever or chills ...