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Laparoscopic Spay

If you’re looking for a minimally invasive alternative to a traditional spay procedure, a laparoscopic spay might be a good fit for your female dog or cat.

English Bulldog on exam table
English Bulldog on exam table

Overview

With a traditional spay procedure, both ovaries and the uterus are usually removed, which is considered an ovariohysterectomy. In contrast, a laparoscopic spay normally only removes the ovaries (ovariectomy), which means a surgeon can make a smaller incision or set of incisions in the patient.

Both surgical procedures achieve the same end result: sterilization, says Dr. Marc Hirshenson, a board-certified veterinary surgeon.

Laparoscopic surgeries are gaining popularity in veterinary medicine. We asked the experts to explain how the procedure works and whether it’s safer than a traditional spay.

Technique

The patient’s abdomen is filled with CO2 gas for better visualization, adds Dr. John Adam, owner and president of Imperial Highway Animal Clinic in Southern California.

The camera transmits a digital image to a screen in the operating room, allowing full view of the entire abdomen and all organs, Hirshenson describes. After the blood vessels are sealed, the ovaries are transected (cut across) and removed. The surgeon’s hands never enter the abdomen.

Benefits

Research has shown that animals undergoing the laparoscopic procedure feel 65 percent less pain than with a traditional spay, Hodges says. The surgery time runs shorter and there’s less bleeding, if any. Due to smaller incision(s), recovery generally occurs in half the time compared to post-operative timeframes for an open spay operation. Recovery includes faster wound and skin healing, plus a quicker return to normal activity.