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A surgical incision through the abdominal wall into the abdominal cavity.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a surgical incision in the abdominal cavity. Although laparotomy was even known to ancient physicians, it was seldom used before the introduction of antisepsis and asepsis because of the danger of infection. It provides access to the organs of the abdominal cavity and lesser pelvis and is performed in cases of inflammation and tumors, as well as in cases of stomach wounds and other injuries; it is sometimes used as an independent procedure for diagnostic purposes (celiotomy, or diagnostic laparotomy). It is sometimes combined with thoracotomy.

Laparotomy is performed using a transverse, vertical, or oblique incision. The purpose of the surgical procedure determines the patient’s position on the operating table—completely horizontal or with the head of the table raised or lowered or a bolster placed under the small of the back. Preoperative preparation of the patient and the anesthesia used depend on the nature of the procedure and the patient’s condition. The abdominal cavity is closed by layer-by-layer suturing of the anterior abdominal wall, with insertion of drains if required.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.