Minimally Invasive Surgery

What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

Minimally Invasive Surgery is accomplished through small portals (incisions that are approximately 5-20 mm long), using cameras that can look inside the body cavity, and instruments that can be inserted through the portals. Studies have shown that dogs have less post operative pain following minimally invasive surgery when compared to traditional surgery. Consequently, many of these procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis, which is beneficial to patients easily stressed in a hospital environment.  Although not all surgeries can be performed in this manner, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine is currently performing minimally invasive surgeries using state-of-the-art portals that allow multiple instruments to be inserted through a single 2 cm portal, thereby increasing the number of surgeries that can be performed using these techniques.

The following is a list of procedures that we can perform using minimally invasive surgery:

  • Liver biopsy
  • Spays (ovariohysterectomy and overiectomy)
  • Cryptorchid castration
  • Prophylactic gastropexy
  • Abdominal exploration and intestinal biopsy
  • Gastrointestinal foreign body removal
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Cystotomy
  • Pericardectomy
  • Right atrial appendage resection
  • Pyothorax
  • Lung lobe excision
  • Thoracic cavity exploration and lung biopsy
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Splenectomy

What is Prophylactic Gastropexy?

Large and giant breed dogs with deep chests, such as Great Danes, Weimerieners, and Irish Wolfhounds are predisposed to developing gastric dilation and torsion (GDV) or “bloat”. GDV is a life threatening condition that requires emergency surgery, and even with surgery, can result in death. Prophylactic gastropexy is a surgery aimed at preventing GDV from occurring by tacking the stomach to the body wall. This is accomplished using minimally invasive techniques (one or two small incisions and the assistance of cameras that look inside the abdominal cavity) and can be performed at the time of spay or neuter. We recommend this procedure for any large or giant breed dog that may be at risk, particularly those dogs that have a history of “food bloating” and/ or have a relative that has had GDV.

What is Laparoscopic-Assisted Cystotomy?

Laparoscopic-assisted cystotomy is a procedure for removing bladder stones that allows access to and viewing of the inside of the bladder through a single 20 mm incision. This procedure allows for flushing of the bladder and improves our ability to completely remove all bladder stones present in the bladder and urethra.

What is Pericardectomy?

Dogs that develop pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart) are at risk for sudden death and emergency treatment is vital to their survival. Following emergency treatment and diagnostic evaluation, a pericardectomy is recommended in many cases to prevent the possibility of fluid building back up. A pericardectomy is a procedure that involves excision of a section of the pericardium (sac around the heart). Traditionally, a thoracotomy (large incision between the ribs) is required to gain access to the pericardial sac. This results in significant pain following the surgery. A thoracoscopic pericardectomy is a minimally invasive method using 2-3 small (5 mm) portals that has been shown to be less painful compared to a thoracotomy.

If your pet has been diagnosed with one of these conditions or if any of these procedures has been recommended, please contact us for further information.

University of Florida


As part of both the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and UF Health, Veterinary Medicine is dedicated to advancing animal, human and environmental health through teaching, research, extension and patient care.



Animal Hospitals

Need animal care? Visit the UF Small Animal and Large Animal Hospitals. From dogs, cats, birds and exotics to horses, cattle, llamas, pigs and many other large farm or food animals, our experienced veterinary staff is ready to assist.

Animal Airwaves

Syndicated Podcast

Animal Airwaves

Animal Airwaves is a daily radio series that features one-minute segments relating to animal health, ranging from insights into animal behavior to veterinary patient care breakthroughs and trends.

Animal Airwaves