Explorative laparotomy

Explorative laparotomy

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Credit: DR BARRY SLAVEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Explorative laparotomy. Surgeon using Metzenbaum scissors to remove adhesions between the small intestine and 31 week gravid (pregnant) uterus (womb) during an explorative laparotomy for small bowel obstruction in a pregnant woman. Adhesions are fibrous attachments that form between tissues and organs that are not normally connected. Intestinal adhesions can often occur following abdominal surgery. A laparotomy involves making a large incision in the abdominal wall to gain access to the abdominal cavity. Here, it is being performed to determine the cause behind an obstruction of the small intestine.

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