BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuAbdominal explorationExploratory surgery; Laparotomy; Exploratory laparotomy Abdominal exploration is surgery to look at the organs and structures in your belly area (abdomen). This includes your:Appendix Bladder Gallbladder Intestines Kidney and ureters Liver Pancreas Spleen Stomach Uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries (in women)Surgery that opens the abdomen is called a laparotomy. Description Exploratory laparotomy is done while you are under general anesthesia. This means you are asleep and feel no pain. The surgeon makes a cut into the abdomen and examines the abdominal organs. The size and location of the surgical cut depend on the specific health concern.A biopsy can be taken during the procedure.BiopsyA biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue for laboratory examination.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Laparoscopy describes a procedure that is performed with a tiny camera placed inside the abdomen. If possible, laparoscopy will be done instead of laparotomy. Why the Procedure Is Performed Your health care provider may recommend a laparotomy if imaging tests of the abdomen, such as x-rays and CT scans, have not provided an accurate diagnosis.x-raysX-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation, just like visible light. An x-ray machine sends individual x-ray particles through the body. The im...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article CT scansA computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create pictures of cross-sections of the body. Related tests include:Abdomin...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Exploratory laparotomy may be used to help diagnose and treat many health conditions, including:Cancer of the ovary, colon, pancreas, liver CancerCancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Endometriosis EndometriosisEndometriosis occurs when cells from the lining of your womb (uterus) grow in other areas of your body. This can cause pain, heavy bleeding, bleedin...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Gallstones GallstonesGallstones are hard deposits that form inside the gallbladder. These may be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Hole in the intestine (intestinal perforation) Inflammation of the appendix (acute appendicitis) Acute appendicitisAppendicitis is a condition in which your appendix gets inflamed. The appendix is a small pouch attached to the large intestine.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Inflammation of an intestinal pocket (diverticulitis) DiverticulitisDiverticula are small, bulging sacs or pouches that form on the inner wall of the intestine. Diverticulitis occurs when these pouches become inflame...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Inflammation of the pancreas (acute or chronic pancreatitis) AcuteAcute means sudden or severe. Acute symptoms appear, change, or worsen rapidly. It is the opposite of chronic.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Chronic pancreatitisPancreatitis is swelling of the pancreas. Chronic pancreatitis is present when this problem does not heal or recurs and does not improve, gets worse...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Liver abscess Liver abscessPyogenic liver abscess is a pus-filled pocket of fluid within the liver. Pyogenic means producing pus.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Pockets of infection (retroperitoneal abscess, abdominal abscess, pelvic abscess) Abdominal abscessThe peritoneum is the thin tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen and covers most of the organs. Peritonitis is present when this tissue be...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Pregnancy outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy) Ectopic pregnancyAn ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb (uterus).ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Scar tissue in the abdomen (adhesions) AdhesionsAdhesions are bands of scar-like tissue that form between two surfaces inside the body and cause them to stick together.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Risks Risks of anesthesia and surgery in general include:Reactions to medicines, breathing problems Bleeding, blood clots, infectionRisks of this surgery include:Incisional hernia HerniaA hernia is a sac formed by the lining of the abdominal cavity (peritoneum). The sac comes through a hole or weak area in the strong layer of the be...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Damage to organs in the abdomen Before the Procedure You will visit with your provider and undergo medical tests before your surgery. Your provider will:Do a complete physical exam. Make sure other medical conditions you may have, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart or lung problems are under control. High blood pressureBlood pressure is a measurement of the force exerted against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood to your body. Hypertension is the ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Perform tests to make sure that you will be able to tolerate the surgery. If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking several weeks before your surgery. Ask your provider for help. Tell your provider:What medicines, vitamins, herbs, and other supplements you are taking, even ones you bought without a prescription. If you have been drinking a lot of alcohol, more than 1 or 2 drinks a day If you might be pregnant During the week before your surgery:You may be asked to temporarily stop taking blood thinners. Some of these are aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), vitamin E, warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or ticlopidine (Ticlid). Ask your provider which drugs you should still take on the day of your surgery. Prepare your home for your return from the hospital. On the day of your surgery:Follow your provider's instructions about when to stop eating and drinking. Take medicines your provider told you to take with a small sip of water. Arrive at the hospital on time. Outlook (Prognosis) You should be able to start eating and drinking normally about 2 to 3 days after the surgery. How long you stay in the hospital depends on the severity of the problem. Complete recovery usually takes about 4 weeks.Open ReferencesReferencesSham JG, Reames BN, He J. Management of periampullary cancer. In: Cameron AM, Cameron JL, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:545-552.Squires RA, Carter SN, Postier RG. Acute abdomen. In: Townsend CM Jr, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery: The Biological Basis of Modern Surgical Practice. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 45.AllVideoImagesTogDigestive system - illustration The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.Digestive systemillustrationPelvic adhesions - illustration Pelvic adhesions are bands of scar-like tissue that form between two surfaces inside the body. Inflammation from infection, surgery, or trauma can cause tissues to bond to other tissues or organs. Pelvic adhesionsillustrationAbdominal exploration - seriesPresentation Digestive system - illustration The esophagus, stomach, large and small intestine, aided by the liver, gallbladder and pancreas convert the nutritive components of food into energy and break down the non-nutritive components into waste to be excreted.Digestive systemillustrationPelvic adhesions - illustration Pelvic adhesions are bands of scar-like tissue that form between two surfaces inside the body. Inflammation from infection, surgery, or trauma can cause tissues to bond to other tissues or organs. Pelvic adhesionsillustration Abdominal exploration - seriesPresentation Related Information X-ray(Medical Test)CT scan(Medical Test)Biopsy(Medical Test)Appendicitis(Condition)Acute(Special Topic)Chronic pancreatitis(Condition)Peritonitis - spontaneous bacterial(Condition)Endometriosis(Condition)Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)(Condition)Adhesion(Condition)Endometriosis(In-Depth)Hodgkin disease(In-Depth) Review Date: 3/5/2020 Reviewed By: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. 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