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Exploratory Laparotomy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What do I need to know about exploratory laparotomy?

Exploratory laparotomy is surgery to look for causes of pain, infection, disease, or scar tissue inside your abdomen. An exploratory laparotomy may help diagnose a medical problem. A problem may be fixed during surgery.

How do I prepare for surgery?

What will happen during surgery?

What should I expect after surgery?

You will be taken to a room to rest and recover. You will then be taken to your hospital room. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. The bandage over your incision keeps the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the bandage soon after surgery to check your incision.

What are the risks of exploratory laparotomy?

Surgery could cause bleeding, breathing problems, or an infection. Your intestines may slow down after surgery, causing bloating and discomfort. Organs such as your liver, lungs, and spleen could be damaged during surgery. You may develop a life-threatening blood clot. After surgery, scar tissue may grow where the surgery was done. You may also get a weak area around the incision called an incisional hernia.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.