Exploratory Laparotomy

If you come to us with an emergency wound and need treatment, you're in great hands. We have some of the best trauma care in the region. When you arrive, you can expect our team to use exploratory laparotomy to check your abdominal organs. This surgical procedure allows us to assess your injuries and to stop your bleeding.

What is this surgery?

Exploratory laparotomy is an emergency open abdominal surgery. It's rarely used. Most often we use this surgery if you:

  • Come to our ER with “Penetrating Abdominal Trauma” (like a gunshot wound, stab wound, or puncture wound)
  • Exhibit penetrating abdominal trauma (gunshot wound, stab, or puncture wound)
  • Have evidence of a ruptured diaphragm muscle
  • Have persistent, significant bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract (vomiting blood or bloody stool)
  • Have uncontrollable blood loss
  • Show evidence of free air in your abdomen, likely from an injury to your intestines

Recovery from laparotomy

If you have a laparotomy for trauma, you will likely be in the hospital for 3-7 days, or more. How long your hospital stay is depends on the severity of your injuries. Your hospital stay gives you time to recover and us time to monitor your recovery. One of the areas we closely watch is your diet.. We start slowly, then get more sophisticated, advancing your diet as you can tolerate. You can expect to be about 80% recovered at about 8 weeks after surgery. Complete healing can take 6-12 months. Ask your doctor about your activity restrictions after surgery. You may have a lifting restriction for 6-8 weeks after open surgery.

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