Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) Prevention – Laparoscopic Gastropexy

Gastric volvulus and dilatation, also known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition that primarily affects large breeds dogs. Distention of the stomach with gas, fluid or food, and twisting of the stomach along its axis are common features of bloat. A surgical procedure to treat bloat, gastropexy involves tacking the stomach to the right side of the body wall.

Prophylactic gastropexy is recommended to prevent bloat in high-risk large breed dogs. These include great Danes, Irish wolfhounds, German shepherds, standard poodles, and bloodhounds. Previously this surgery was performed through a 12-inch abdominal incision. Now, a minimally invasive procedure called, laparoscopic gastropexy can be performed to achieve the same result. Laparoscopic gastropexy can be performed in conjunction with other procedures such as laparoscopic spaying, castration, and laparoscopic removal of abdominal testes (cryptorchidectomy). Minimally invasive surgery reduces morbidity and postsurgical pain, as compared to open conventional gastropexy.

Laparoscopic gastropexy technique
A scope (camera) is inserted into the abdominal cavity through a 1 cm incision. A second 5 mm instrument port is established in the abdomen. This port serves to pick up the stomach with a laparoscopic instrument. A 2.5 cm incision is made on the right body wall in the predetermined gastropexy site, just through the skin.

Using a bipolar cautery instrument, the proposed area for the “tack” on the stomach and inside of the body wall are lightly cauterized to promote the formation of an adhesion. Sutures are passed through the body wall and into the wall of the stomach. The sutures are then tied to tack the stomach to the body wall.

Benefits of the laparoscopic gastropexy

  • Small incisions, therefore less scarring
  • Less bruising of the abdominal scar
  • Less postsurgical pain
  • Quicker and better recovery
  • Procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis, and patient can go home on the day of the procedure.
  • Prophylactic surgery prevents life-threatening twist of stomach and the more expensive cost of treating life-threatening bloat.

For more information on this subject, speak to the veterinarian who is treating your pet.