Laparoscopy Spay VS Regular Spay
This morning I wanted to share our experiences with spay surgeries. Until recently, we only had the option of Traditional spay and although these have always gone well, with no complications. Recovery time has always been about 2 weeks limiting activity so they healed safely with no issues.
When I asked about an appointment for a female last week, I was asked my preference on type of surgery, laparoscopic or traditional. I jumped at the chance to do laparoscopic! This was so exciting. And I wasn't disappointed either.
On Wednesday we arrived early in the morning for drop off, and spoke to the nurse about their surgery medications protocols. They happened to be using Acepromazine so we asked to change the protocols and they did. At 2:30pm we picked her up and she bounced out to us! That was a first! She came home and we checked her tummy. She has two very small incisions about 1/2' each, and they stated she would only need a couple days to recover. Wow! Once getting home we offered her a meal at supper time and she refused it. So in the morning we offered her another meal and this time she gobbled it up. She hasn't needed anything for pain medication wise, and has been bouncy since right after!
We couldn't be more pleased and Ellie went there today for her Lap Spay.
I've shared an article below that compares the two types of spay for your viewing.
Suzi & Marc
In a traditional spay, incision size actually varies. The wound on your dog does vary and that depends on what type of surgery your dog is undergoing. It depends on the size and body condition of your dog.
If your dog is thin, they'll need a smaller incision. If they are fat and overweight, we will often need to make a larger incision because there is so much fat in the way. As a surgeon, I need to see what I’m doing and handle the tissue appropriately.
REMOVING THE OVARIES AND UTERUS
The ovaries and uterus are then clamped off and suture material ligature is used to close off the blood supply so that we prevent any bleeding. We remove the likelihood of any bleeding before we make our cut to remove the ovaries and the uterus (is a full ovariohysterectomy is being performed).
Laparoscopic Spay Surgery
Let's compare this traditional technique to a laparoscopic spay.
Laparoscopic surgery is known as minimally invasive, or keyhole surgery. It involves one to three small half-inch incisions being made into the body wall that then go into the abdomen. The exact technique is again going to depend on the technique and the preference of the veterinary surgeon.
Carbon dioxide is then used to inflate the abdomen. This helps separate all of the organs for visualization with a camera. The camera and the instruments are passed through those small incision ports, and the surgery is carried out without the surgeon’s hands entering the abdomen.
A screen is used by the surgeon to perform the surgery, the camera is connected to a television screen. Rather than suture material being used to block the blood vessels, electrocautery is used to seal them which prevents blooding once the ovaries are removed.
Benefits of a Laparoscopic Spay
SMALLER INCISIONYour dog is going to have a smaller incision. It’s not called keyhole spay for nothing!
In a traditional spay, they have a three-inch incision compared to one-three much smaller incisions.
LESS PAINFULDogs have been shown to feel up to 65% less pain after laparoscopy than they would feel after traditional spay surgery. They will have a faster recovery because they are more comfortable.
LOWER COMPLICATION RATEThere is also a lower complication rate with laparoscopic spay compared to routine spay surgery.
In one study, there was a complication rate of around 20% with laparoscopy. This compared to 40% of dogs suffering complications with a traditional spay. That being said, complications were mainly inflammation alone, which required no further treatment.
FASTER RECOVERY TIMEA smaller incision, less pain and lower chance of complications all add up to a dog recovering from their spay surgery faster if it performed laparoscopically.
A traditional spay requires a post-operative rest and recovery period of 10-14 days. With a laparoscopic spay, this is reduced to a rest period of only 5 days before normal activity levels can resume.
Laparoscopic Spay Drawbacks
What are the downsides of a laparoscopic spay compared to a traditional spay in dogs?
MORE EXPENSIVEFirst off, these surgeries are more expensive, and understandably so.
The training that needs to take place before this surgery can be performed is quite extensive. Most general practitioner veterinarians won't be familiar with laparoscopic equipment before they start performing laparoscopic spays and so the learning curve can be high.
Also, the equipment that we need for this advanced surgical technique is much more expensive than with a traditional spay. Traditional spay uses very simple hand instruments, but laparoscopic spays require a more complicated, expensive setup.
CONVERSION TO TRADITIONAL SPAYINGIf we do get a problem during surgery, your surgeon is going to need to convert to a traditional, open spay. You can't deal with any bleeding or other more serious complications with laparoscopic equipment alone.
You need to open up the abdomen traditionally, using your hands and instruments to find and then fix the problem.
UTERINE PATHOLOGYLaparoscopic spay cannot be carried out if there is a uterine infection or any other uterine pathology present. Remember that only the ovaries are removed in a keyhole spay.
If there is a cancer of the uterus, or any other problem, then a laparoscopic spay procedure is not going to be the best option for your dog. This is not likely to be a problem in a young dog, but if you have an older dog there is an argument that a traditional approach is going to be best, given the potential for an unknown problem with the uterus being found.
Spay Surgery Complications
Minor surgical site infections are not common but are the next most frequently experienced complication.
There is a slightly increased risk of infection in a traditional spay along with a slight delay in wound healing. In general though, very few of these infections need any major treatment apart from a course of antibiotics.
Other complications that are frequently seen, and are the same with both surgical techniques, are diarrhea and vomiting.
These are likely due to the anesthetic and the pain medication given, rather than the specific surgical technique performed.
This is the most severe complication risk. Spaying a dog involves cutting some really big blood vessels. If they have not been securely blocked the severe bleeding can happen, and this can even be life-threatening.
The risk is slightly higher with a traditional spay. If the suture material ligature is not tied tightly enough, or the knot is not tied securely, then it has the potential to slip. The result of this can be rapid blood loss into the abdomen,
With laparoscopic spay technique, electricity is used to effectively seal the blood vessel. There is no potential for slippage, and so long as the appropriate technique is used, and there is no equipment failure, the risk of bleeding is minimal.
Thankfully, this severe complication is very rare regardless of the technique used. It is a very uncommon risk with a traditional spay, but there is a slightly higher risk nonetheless.
LAPAROSCOPY IS (MARGINALLY) SAFER
Overall, there are benefits of a laparoscopic spay compared to a traditional spay in dogs when it comes to the risk of complications. But it's important to remember that safety is very high in both procedures.
The likelihood of side-effects varies just as much with surgeon experience as it does by the actual technique performed.
When Is Traditional Spay Better than Laparoscopic Spay
While there is no upper age for keyhole spay set in stone, age does play a role when it comes to deciding which surgical technique is right for your dog.
The reason for this is that the older a dog is, the higher the likelihood that there are some abnormalities within the body of the uterus. Leaving these in the body could make it much more likely that your dog will suffer from a significant disease of their uterus later on in life. Remember that in a laparoscopic spay only the ovaries are removed.
One compromise, if you have your heart set on a keyhole spay, is to understand that your vet may need to convert to a traditional spay during your dog’s surgery. This will however also mean a longer anesthetic and procedure time for your dog.
Similarly, if your dog is known to have an existing disease of their uterus, for example pyometra, then it is a traditional ovariohysterectomy that they need.
Even though laparoscopic spay may not be the right option, there are still definite benefits of spaying an older dog.
Laparoscopy is more challenging in small dogs, and for those under about 12 pounds (5kg) it is likely that a traditional spay is going to be their best option.
The reason for this is that, not only will the incision be much the same size, there is simply not enough room in their tiny abdomen for all the laparoscopic spay equipment to fit!
There is smaller equipment available, but this will not be available to the majority of veterinarians.
While a laparoscopic spay may actually be safer for the majority of dogs compared to a traditional surgical approach, for dogs that are truly obese, many surgeons will prefer an open approach to allow full visualization of the ovarian pedicle and blood vessels that need to be ligated.
For those dogs that fall into this category, a pre-surgical weight loss program is still going to be beneficial to reduce the surgery risk as well as improving long-term health.
And it is vital for all dogs that diet is adjusted to focus on healthy weight maintenance following surgery, with energy requirements falling by up to 25%.
Superior TechniqueA laparoscopic spay is the superior technique for the majority of female dogs.
That said, even with the standard, traditional approach, our dogs are still pretty comfortable and are back up and running very quickly after surgery. Especially considering how major the surgery is.
In fact, keeping your dog quiet after surgery might be your biggest challenge!
If laparoscopy is not available in your area, or if the cost is too high, then you should have no qualms at all about having your dog spayed traditionally. This is a technique that is performed in veterinary practice daily, and so a procedure that your veterinarian is going to be very comfortable performing.
Laparoscopy will become more common in time, but there will always be a place for the traditional approach.
Technique is only one important consideration when it comes to spaying a female dog. Spaying your dog at the right age is really important to optimize their future health and reduce the risk of long-term complications.
All info shared from: https://ourpetshealth.com/info/dog-laparoscopic-spay