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Keyhole Surgery

We are one of the first practices in Scotland who can perform Keyhole Surgery

At ICR Veterinary Surgery, our aim is to always offer a professional and caring service and that means staying up to date with advances in equipment and training.

We are extremely proud to have been one of the first practices in Scotland who can perform Keyhole (Laparoscopic) Surgery. This is minimally invasive surgery which involves passing a camera and specialised instruments through tiny holes (0.5-1.2cm) in the body wall and performing surgical procedures.

Just as you may be aware that Keyhole Surgery in people has huge advantages in terms of less pain and a faster recovery time compared to conventional surgery, the same is true in our pets.

The Advantages of Keyhole Surgery

  • Less pain after the operation
  • Smaller incisions
  • Faster recovery time
  • Faster healing times
  • Fewer post operative complications
  • Minimally invasive
  • Much clearer view for the surgeon
  • No stitches in the skin – so usually no need for buster collars

Our specialised equipment and extensive training means that we can offer minimally invasive ways of diagnosing and treating conditions in sick animals, such as liver disease, bladder problems or even thoracic disease, but it also means that we can make some routine operations such as spays much less painful for your cat or dog.

Keyhole Spay (Dogs and Cats)

The operation is performed through 2 small incisions (0.3 to 1.2cm depending on the size of the pet) as compared to the larger incision (2-4cm in cats, 6-15cm in dogs) required for a traditional spay. One incision is for a tiny camera (called a laparoscope), which displays a magnified image on a monitor, giving a clear view of the abdomen. The other small incision is for long instruments that allow the surgeon to remove the pet’s ovaries.

In a conventional spay, the ligaments which connect the ovaries to the abdomen wall have to be stretched and then cut or torn, which causes significant pain. With the keyhole technique however, these ligaments can simply be cauterised then cut, which greatly reduces the post-operative pain.

Due to the positioning of the instruments used, it is necessary to clip an area of fur on both the sides and underneath the belly, to ensure that the area is sterile. Both of the small incisions are closed with stitches that are under the skin, so there is nothing for your dog to chew and usually no need for a “lampshade” collar.

We know how difficult it is to keep bouncy young dogs and cats rested. A further advantage is that after a keyhole spay we recommend restricting your dog to lead exercise (and preventing your cat from going outside) for just 2-3 days, considerably less than the 10 days needed for traditional spays. Most animals are very comfortable after their keyhole spay but to ensure their comfort, we administer appropriate pain-relieving medication during their operation.

What Is The Difference Between Ovariectomy And Ovariohysterectomy?

During a keyhole spay the two ovaries are removed (called an ovariectomy). During a traditional open spay both the ovaries and the uterus are removed (called an ovariohysterectomy).

The effect of both types of surgery is the same. Spayed females will not have seasons, cannot become pregnant and will not develop false pregnancies. Spayed cats and dogs cannot develop life-threatening womb infections (called pyometra) or tumours of the ovaries. In addition, if your female dog is spayed before her third season, her risk of developing mammary tumours is significantly reduced.

Many studies have been performed looking into the risk of leaving the uterus behind – so long as the ovaries are fully removed there is no benefit to the patient of also removing the uterus. In order to develop pyometras hormones are required, which come from the ovaries. So without ovaries it is not possible to develop these conditions.