What are the advantages of keyhole surgery?
- Less pain after the operation
- Smaller incisions
- Faster healing time
- Fewer post-operative complications
- No stitches in the skin – usually no need for a buster collar
- Rest is usually only required for 2-3 days after the procedure
- Clearer and safer view for the surgeon
There are many surgical and diagnostic procedures we can perform using the specialised equipment and training we have. The most common is keyhole spaying (laparoscopic ovariectomy).
How does keyhole spaying work?
A keyhole spay is performed through 2 small incisions (0.3-1cm depending on the size of the patient) compared to one larger incision (2-4cm in cats, 5-15cm in dogs).
One incision is for the camera, which displayed a magnified view on a monitor allowing a clear picture for the surgeon. The second incision is for instruments which are used to remove the ovaries.
Will my pet be sore after the procedure?
In a conventional spay, the ligaments connecting the ovaries to the abdomen have to be stretched, which causes pain. With keyhole spaying these ligaments are cauterised and cut, which is significantly less painful.
How much hair is clipped?
Due to the positioning of the instruments, is it necessary to clip a large area of hair on the sides and the belly. This ensures the area is sterile for surgery.
Will a buster collar be required?
Both small incisions are closed with dissolvable stitches under the skin, so most pets do not pay attention to the wounds. It is important to ensure they don’t lick, so occasionally a pet will require a body suit or collar to prevent this.
How long is the rest period?
For a conventional spay pets need to rest for 10-14days, with keyhole procedures the rest time is just 2-3 days so long as the recovery goes as planned.
Will pain relief be required at home?
Most pets are very comfortable after keyhole surgery. We administer pain medication on the day of their operation, but they usually do not require any when they get home.
Is it safe to leave the uterus behind?
Many studies have been performed looking into the risk of leaving the uterus behind. So long as the ovaries are fully removed, there is no benefit to the patient of removing the uterus. In order to develop pyometra, hormones are required, which come from the ovaries. Therefore, without ovaries, it is not possible to develop these conditions. If we see that the uterus looks abnormal during the procedure, we may be able to remove it laparoscopically or may advise converting to open surgery to do so.
What is the difference between ovariectomy and ovariohysterectomy long term?
The effect of both surgeries is the same. Spayed females will not have seasons, cannot become pregnant, and will not develop false pregnancies. Spayed animals cannot develop life-threatening uterine infections (pyometra) or ovarian tumours.
In addition, spaying a female dog before her third season has been proven to reduce the risk of developing mammary cancers later in life.
Keyhole surgery can benefit many other patients, and enables us to provide minimally invasive options for surgeries such as:
- Removing retained testicles
- Liver biopsies