1. Overview and laparoscopy
Minimally invasive surgical techniques have grown in prominence in humans and this trend is continuing in veterinary surgery, although the uptake of many procedures has been slower and the overall number of animals treated in this way remains small. The limiting factors are generally lack of experience and the cost and availability of the equipment required. However, the benefits include reduced tissue trauma, faster patient recovery and better visualisation due to magnification and closer access, all of which have already been seen following the use of arthroscopy for the management of joint disorders in horses and dogs. This article outlines the equipment needed for minimally invasive soft tissue surgery and describes the use of laparoscopy for a number of abdominal procedures in dogs and cats. An article to be published in the next issue of In Practice will consider thoracoscopic and urethrocystoscopic surgical techniques in these species.
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