Laparotomy or exploratory laparotomy is a procedure performed to examine the organs of the abdomen and diagnose any underlying conditions. The different organs that can be examined include the liver, intestine, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, stomach and kidneys.
Laparotomy is performed when imaging tests, such as X-rays and CT scans, do not provide an accurate diagnosis. It is used for the diagnosis of conditions such as gallstones, inflammation of the appendix, pancreas or intestine, liver abscess and perforations in the intestine.
The procedure of laparotomy is performed under general anaesthesia. Your doctor makes an incision on your abdomen at an appropriate position, to view the underlying organs. In some cases, the condition can be treated at this stage itself or a biopsy can be taken for further examination.
Like all invasive procedures, laparotomy may be associated with certain risks such as bleeding, damage of the surrounding organs and infection.