Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus or (GDV or “bloat”) is a syndrome affecting dogs in which the stomach becomes very dilated with gas and rotates on itself. This rotation causes damage to the blood supply of the stomach and spleen. It is a life threatening syndrome if not immediately recognized and addressed with emergency surgery. Large breed dogs are generally at risk, especially if deep chested, including Great Danes and German Shepherds. In the surgical treatment of GDV the stomach is sewn to the body wall (gastropexy) to hold it in place and prevent it from rotating. For prevention, a gastropexy can be performed in dogs that are at risk for GDV (specific breeds or larger dogs, especially if they have a deep chested conformation or have a relative that has had bloat). Traditionally this would require an open abdominal surgery but laparoscopy has helped to reduce it to small incisions resulting in less discomfort and better recovery. After having a gastropexy dogs can still have their stomach dilate but will not have volvulus (rotation of the stomach) which is the life threatening part of the syndrome.
For laparoscopic gastropexy, an incision is made in the central abdomen and a port is placed for introduction of the camera. Once the stomach is visualized, an incision is made over the right body wall where the stomach will be sewn and laparoscopic grasping forceps are introduced through a second port. The section of the stomach is grasped and retracted to the body wall. The body wall incision is enlarged to the appropriate size to perform the pexy surgery. Once completed the stomach is inspected with the camera to confirm proper placement and the surgical sites closed.
See our web page on minimally invasive surgery for general details on laparoscopy.