Abdominal surgery may be used for a number of conditions, including infections, tumors, inflammatory bowel disease or obstructions. Below is a more detailed list of some conditions that may necessitate either open or laparoscopic abdominal surgery. It is important to note that this list is by no means exhaustive, as there are numerous other conditions that may lead your doctor to recommend abdominal surgery.
- Inguinal hernia: This is a condition in which intra-abdominal fat or part of the small intestine bulges through a weak area in the lower abdominal muscles. This type of hernia appears as a bulge on one or both sides of the groin; it can occur at any point in life and is more common in men than women. These hernias tend to become larger over time. In an open hernia repair surgery, the surgeon will put the hernia back in place in the abdomen, reinforce the muscle wall with stitches, and reinforce the areas of weak abdominal muscles with synthetic mesh or screen. In a laparoscopic hernia surgery, the surgeon will repair the hernia using synthetic mesh; these surgeries tend to have a shorter recovery time, though they are usually not used for large hernias.
- Abdominal exploration: This type of surgery is used to diagnose rather than treat conditions. Your doctor may wish to perform a procedure called an exploratory laparotomy if imaging tests of the abdomen, such as an x-ray and CT scan, have allowed for a diagnosis of your condition. An abdominal exploration can be used to diagnose ovary, colon, pancreas or liver cancer, endometriosis, gallstones, an intestinal perforation, acute appendicitis, acute or chronic pancreatitis, liver abscess, infection, ectopic pregnancy, adhesions or inflammation of an intestinal pocket.
- Appendectomy: This procedure is performed to treat appendicitis, or an inflamed appendix, a condition that can be difficult to diagnose. The first symptom of appendicitis is pain around the belly button that becomes sharp and severe, and then moves into the right lower abdomen. Individuals with symptoms of appendicitis should seek medical care immediately, and not try to relieve symptoms at home. In an appendectomy, the surgeon’s goal will be to remove the appendix before it ruptures and leaks an infection throughout the body.
- Inflammatory bowel disease: In some cases of inflammatory bowel disease in which the condition does not improve with medicine. In this surgery, doctors may fix or remove damaged parts of an intestine. Surgery to remove the large intestine can cure a bowel condition called ulcerative colitis, after which the surgeon will perform an operation to enable the body to get rid of food waste. As many as 75 percent of patients with Crohn’s disease will also need surgery, though surgery cannot completely cure this disease. Surgery for Crohn’s disease will either widen the narrowed area of the small intestine, removed the damaged part of the small or large intestine, or remove the large intestine altogether.