Laparotomy for Pelvic Problems

Topic Overview

A laparotomy is a surgical procedure that allows the surgeon to visually inspect the abdominal cavity through an incision in the abdomen. Laparotomy may be used in the diagnosis and treatment of female pelvic conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, and ectopic pregnancy. Laparotomy is usually done under general anesthesia.

Laparotomy is most often done:

  • When a life-threatening condition is present, such as appendicitis or ectopic pregnancy, that requires immediate surgery.
  • When scarring (adhesions) or abnormal conditions make it difficult to use laparoscopy to see inside the abdomen.
  • For diagnosis of pelvic symptoms. Treatment can be done at the same time.

For PID, laparotomy is not done as often as laparoscopy, which requires special equipment and training. But laparotomy is done if a hospital is not equipped for laparoscopy, or if another problem is suspected, such as a ruptured appendix.

The hospital or surgery center may send you instructions on how to get ready for your surgery, or a nurse may call you with instructions before your surgery.

Right after surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area where nurses will care for and observe you. You most likely will stay in the recovery area for 1 to 4 hours, and then you will be moved to a hospital room. In addition to any special instructions from your doctor, your nurse will explain information to help you during your recovery.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Last Revised November 23, 2012

Last Revised: November 23, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.