What is Omentalization?

The omentum is two layers of fatty tissue in the abdomen. It is made up of two parts, the greater omentum and the lesser omentum. The greater omentum plays a vital role in the body by storing fat, while the lesser omentum is a peritoneal fold that connects the stomach to other organs. This transparent membrane has been found to be effective when used in other parts of the body.

The lesser omentum can be removed and affixed to various parts of the body during surgery. It is extremely useful for internal reconstruction and sealing anastomotic sites. The omentum is far superior to other materials for use in surgery as it has many blood vessels, immune cells, and inflammatory cells. Because if this it can also absorb bacteria. Surgeries involving omentalization should be performed by ACVS board-certified veterinary surgeons who have experience in that field.

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Omentalization Procedure in Dogs

As omentalization is a specific procedure performed as a part of other surgeries, general anesthesia will be needed. Pre-anesthetic blood work is necessary to determine whether a dog is a good fit for surgery. Ultrasounds are often used to plan the operation. It is at this point that the surgeon will decide if omentalization can be used in the procedure. 

If the omentum is to used during surgery, after the abdomen has been incised the surgeon can begin to remove the tissue. It should be removed from the pancreas with care and then unfolded. Cauterization is generally used to remove the omentum as it seals off blood vessels, preventing hemorrhage.

Efficacy of Omentalization in Dogs

The overall effectiveness of an omentalization varies greatly depending on the underlying issue that is being treated. In less complicated procedures, recovery is likely and long-term problems are generally not seen. The omentalization itself is a low risk treatment. If cancerous tumors are present, the prognosis may be guarded. Emergency situations are also associated with lower survival rates.

Omentalization Recovery in Dogs

The exact recovery process will vary with each different surgery that can include omentalization. The dog will have to be monitored during the anesthesia come-down. Hospitalization for at least two days is often needed after most surgeries. Prescriptions for pain medications and antibiotics may be given. Oral administration for up to two weeks is needed for most prescriptions. 

An Elizabethan collar can be useful to keep a dog from licking or scratching at its incision site. All activity should be limited during the healing process. A follow-up appointment is needed approximately two weeks after the operation in most cases. If cancer or other diseases have been found, a treatment regime may be started.

Cost of Omentalization in Dogs

The cost of an omentalization itself may vary, as it is only done as a part of other surgeries. Most surgical procedures require ultrasound imaging, blood work, anesthesia, pain medication, and antibiotics. This makes the starting price for most surgeries above the $1,000 mark. Emergency surgeries or surgeries performed by a specialist will likely cost over $5,000.

Dog Omentalization Considerations

Complications with omentalization occur rarely. The overall risk of the surgery will depend on what is being treated. All surgeries carry risks associated with the use of anesthesia. If the omentum is not handled correctly, the tissue can die and be unusable. The membrane must be kept moist throughout the process. If the omentum is being used on the intestines, there is a small possibility that improper installation will lead to intestinal blockages. 

Omentalization Prevention in Dogs

There are many different reasons that a dog may need abdominal surgery. Some of these causes are preventable, while others are not. Surgeries due to serious injuries can often be prevented by using a leash at all times when out with your dog. Surgeries to remove cysts cannot be prevented, as cysts are often due to genetics. Surgery because of cancer can sometimes be prevented by the avoidance of toxins in the dog's environment. Identifying cancer early may also reduce the need for surgery. Always request a full report of family health when getting a dog.