Abdominal surgery refers to a list of surgical procedures performed on the abdominal organs to treat a medical condition. These include the stomach, liver, kidney and so on. The purpose of abdominal surgery is to relieve the patient of symptoms and pain caused by a ruptured appendix, internal bleeding, or abdominal injury and trauma.
Abdominal surgeries are mainly divided into laparotomies and laparoscopic surgeries.
The different types of abdominal surgeries include:
Exploratory LaparotomyDiagnostic surgery to determine the source of bleeding.
CholecystectomyAbdominal surgery to move the gallbladder.
AppendectomyAbdominal surgery to treat appendicitis.
Inguinal Hernia SurgeryTo repair an inguinal hernia using laparoscopic techniques.
Abdominal surgeries are also called open abdomen surgeries or laparotomies.
These surgeries are performed in the abdominal region using tubes and video cameras to assist the surgeon to get a better view of the abdominal interior during surgery.
How is it Performed?
Abdominal surgery is performed in two different ways based on whether it is a laparotomy or a laparoscopic surgery.
In the case of a laparotomy, a single large incision is made on the abdomen. Midline, paramedian, transverse, subcostal, or chevron incisions are done depending on the area of the abdomen that requires an operation. Once the operation is complete, the muscle of the abdominal wall and the overlying skin are sewn closed.
In a laparoscopic operation, the surgeon starts out with small incisions that are kept open by tubes called trocars. To make room for the surgery, the abdominal region is insufflated with carbon dioxide gas with a camera attached to the laparoscope. This guides the surgeon throughout the surgery as they insert the instruments through the trocars to reach the area of surgery.
Open abdominal surgery is recommended for patients with severe symptoms such as abdominal trauma and pain, internal bleeding, a perforated organ in the abdomen, inflammation of the inner lining of the abdomen, miscarriages, and unexplained abdominal bleeding.
Preparation before abdominal surgery include:
- Fasting: Since the procedure occurs under general anesthesia, the patients are advised to not eat for a certain number of hours before the operation.
- Preparation: A shower or shaving in the abdominal area may be required, for which the patient will be provided with a surgical gown and lotion.
- Enema: To empty the bowels, this can be given beforehand.
Post the operation, the surgeon will sew up the incision and transfer the patient to a ward, where they can slowly recover from anesthesia. Some things to keep in mind post-surgery include:
- Assessment of the wound site
- Proper checks for infections
- Monitoring of temperature and blood pressure
- Intravenous fluids until the patient recovers enough to get back to their normal diet
A urinary catheter may also be used to drain urine, and a tube may be inserted to drain the stomach a day or two after the procedure. This can help the digestive tract recover.
Some common postoperative symptoms and side effects of abdominal surgery include:
- Temporary or permanent scars in the abdominal area
- Sore throat, restlessness, and nausea
- Constipation and flatulence
- Hemorrhages, in rare instances
- Wound infection
- Venous thromboembolism (intravenous blood clots)
Apart from the medication to treat pain and nausea, details on how to care for the abdominal wound will be provided by surgeons and health practitioners. Recovery may take from six weeks to up to two months. While in recovery, avoid activities that hurt the abdominal muscles, avoid smoking and drinking, and avoid overly strenuous activities. Regular leg exercises, deep breathing and mild exercises are recommended to prevent infections or clots and to speed up recovery.
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