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What is a Laparoscopic Spay (LapSpay)?

Minimally invasive surgery, or laparoscopy, is the use of small incisions (5 to 10 mm) to place a camera and specialized instruments to perform surgery.  A laparoscopic spay is typically done as an ovariectomy (removing the ovaries only) although it could be done as an ovariohysterectomy (removing the ovaries and uterus) with extra time and incisions. See our web page on “The Ovariectomy” for more information on the two. When performing a laparoscopic spay, the abdomen is filled with carbon dioxide to create a working space, the ovaries are retracted and the vessels and connective tissue ligated and dissected free. Once dissected free the ovary is removed through the original incision.

What is the benefit?

Because of the small incisions and more limited tissue manipulation there is more limited pain and potential complications. In general, smaller incisions heal quickly with less problems. Because of this, minimally invasive surgery has been very successful in the human field. Studies have shown that dogs undergoing laparoscopic spays also have a significant reduction in postoperative discomfort.

Should my dog get a laparoscopic spay or a regular spay?

Generally, dogs 20 lbs or larger are candidates for laparoscopic spays although we have done it in smaller dogs as well as cats. It is, in part, dependent on weight as well as body conformation. If there is a question, an evaluation by the doctor is recommended to determine the best choice.

How much more does the laparoscopic spay cost?

At Pikesville Animal Hospital we do not charge additional for the laparoscopic spay. We believe in providing the best care for our patients and include it, as appropriate, as part of our complete spay package.


After introduction of the laparoscope the ovary is visualized. Here the ovary (1) is  seen lying next to the right kidney (2). The uterine horn (3) and ovarian blood vessels  (4) are also visualized.

 Ovary grasped
 Once visualized, the ovary is grasped so that it can be isolated for  dissection. Here the left ovary (1) is being grasped and retracted  away from the left kidney (2).


 Ovary Retracted

The ovary (1) is held in place with a retracting hook away from other  organs so that it can be dissected free. Here, the left ovary is retracted away, the left  kidney (2) and uterine horn (3) can be seen in the picture. Dissection is performed with  electrosurgical instrumentation  (Force Triad vessel sealing device). Once dissected  free the ovary can be removed through the camera port