Key-Hole Surgery

At Dragon Vet Centre we’ve been able to perform key-hole (minimally invasive surgery) procedures on pets for several years now. The benefits of reduced surgical discomfort, quicker return to normal activity and less post-operative pain are well established.
Key-hole surgery was trialled in animals as early as the mid-1980s, when it was still an emerging technology in human patients, although it was not until the early 2000s that it gained traction as a viable routine surgical procedure in the veterinary world. These days we routinely perform neuterings in female dogs using key hole techniques, in fact it is rare now for us to perform the more traditional open surgery to sterilise a bitch as the cost difference is relatively small and the benefits significant.
Lap Spay
With a key-hole spey two small incisions are made in the abdomen of a dog. Initially gas is introduced into the abdomen to inflate the abdominal cavity and this allow us to visualise the different internal organs. Without inflation all the internal organs lie on top of each other and there is very little space to manoeuvre the camera and instruments inside the abdomen. Once inflated a 5mm endoscopic camera is passed into the abdomen and interestingly it is possible to get a better view of some organs (especially the liver) than with a traditional open surgical technique. Through the second incision instruments are passed which can be used to grab or manipulate tissue. Once the ovaries are located they are moved away from important structures and their blood supply and attachments carefully dissected free and ablated to prevent bleeding. The ovaries can then be removed, the abdomen deflated and the two small incisions closed. Surgical time is usually around twenty minutes and in many cases, especially larger dogs, is much quicker than a conventional spey.
Key hole procedures are not limited to just neuterings either. Other traditionally open surgical procedures in animals are now performed routinely in this minimally invasive fashion. Bladder stones can be removed through tiny incisions, organs can be biopsied to check for cancer or other diseases and even some chest/thorax surgery can be performed with cameras. As the technology and equipment get more advanced we can do more procedures in this less painful/invasive manner.