Keyhole Spay

Laparoscopic assisted Bitch Spay

"Keyhole" or laparoscopy has been widely used for many years in human surgery for many procedures due to its clear advantages when compared to traditional open surgery.

At Beechwood Veterinary Hospital, we are proud to announce that we are now able to offer this minimally-invasive surgical modality for our patients and that we are one of the first practices in Yorkshire to provide this advanced technique.

The main benefits of laparoscopy are:-

  • It is a safer and less invasive method of surgery.
  • It greatly reduces surgical trauma.
  • Results in reduced levels of pain and discomfort after surgery, which leads to quicker recovery times.

Keyhole surgery improves how well and how much the surgeon can see during the procedure and therefore is associated with fewer surgical complications. Also as we only need 2 or 3 very small ports ("keyholes") approximately 1cm long, these smaller wounds reduce the hassle and worry associated with your pet licking the wounds, decrease the chance of infection, and reduce the requirements for strict rest after surgery.

(Left ovary being cauterised and removed, second picture down in sidebar)

Neutering (Spaying) a bitch using Laparoscopy (Laparoscopic Ovariectomy)

In a conventional spay, a large incision is made to allow the surgeon adequate visualisation and handling of the tissues. During this procedure both the uterus (womb), and ovaries are removed (Ovariohysterectomy), involving some tearing of tissues (suspensory ligament) which further increases the pain associated with open bitch spay. Although this is one of the most common surgical procedures we perform it is still major surgery as anyone who has had a hysterectomy will know!!

A keyhole spay is totally different :

Two or three very small wounds are created through the skin and muscles into the abdominal cavity allowing the insertion of a camera and long and thin specialist instruments. The surgery is therefore performed inside the body, with maximum precision and minimal invasion and trauma. In contrast to conventional surgery, only the ovaries are removed (Ovariectomy) which shortens surgical time and again reduces the risks involved.

Why leave the uterus behind? Evidence shows that there are no medical advantages to removing the healthy uterus and the long term health outcomes are the same for both ovariectomy and ovariohysterectomy. Both will stop the bitch from coming into season and it will prevent uterine pyometra (life threatening infection in the uterus) as the ovaries are required for this condition to develop.
(In dogs older than 8 years of age, the uterus may need to be removed at the same time, however this will be discussed at the pre spay examination).

(Right ovary being grasped and cautery about to start, third picture down in sidebar)

-When can my dog be spayed using keyhole surgery?

  • As with conventional spay, we advise that this is done before the first season, at approximately 4-5 months of age.

-What are the main differences?

  • -Even though area of fur removed is similar, your dog will only have 2 or 3 very small wounds in the midline of her tummy, near the umbilical scar.
  • -In most cases, the wounds will be glued rather than stitched.
  • -Faster recovery from the surgery and anaesthesia.
  • -A very short period of rest after surgery - Two or three days compared to 14 days for conventional spay.
  • -Shorter course of post operative pain-killers.
  • -In the majority of cases, there will be no need to wear an Elizabethan Collar.
  • -Greatly reduced risk of complications during or after surgery.

Laparoscopic assisted Cryptorchidectomy - Retained Testicle Castration

The fifth picture down in the sidebar is the gold standard method of removing an abdominally retained testicle. It involves one 5-6mm incision near the umbilicus and a 2-3cm parapreputial incision (on the side of the penis), big enough to extract the testicle, with subsequent reduction in surgical trauma and thus pain, reduction in morbidity and decreased recovery time when compared to a conventional midline coeliotomy/incision.

Other Laparoscopic procedures

  • -Investigation and treatment of ovarian remnant syndrome.
  • -Liver biopsy.
  • -Other abdominal organ biopsies, eg. Pancreas, kidneys, small intestine, etc.
  • -Prophylactic gastropexy.

If you are interested in further information regarding Laparoscopic procedures please do not hesitate to contact Beechwood Veterinary Hospital on (01302) 534999.