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.
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.
Laparoscopic Spay Technique
“Some minimal variation occurs in the procedure among surgeons, but it involves between one to three small incisions along the abdominal body wall,” says Hirshenson, who performs surgery at Triangle Veterinary Referral Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. “Through these small incision(s), the surgeon places ports allowing the entrance of the camera and instrumentation.”
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.