Written By: Camryn Keeble

Laparoscopy vs Laparotomy

Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that forms in the peritoneum, the thin layer of tissue lining the abdominal cavity. The only known cause of this cancer is exposure to asbestos and can take decades after exposure for symptoms to appear. Peritoneal mesothelioma can often be treated with surgical intervention. Laparoscopy and laparotomy are two types of surgical procedures that may be used to treat peritoneal mesothelioma.

Karen Ritter, RN BSN

Medically Reviewed By

Karen Ritter, RN BSN

Registered Nurse


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Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that is performed using a laparoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light attached to the end. During the procedure, several small incisions are made in the abdomen, and the laparoscope is inserted through one of the incisions. The camera on the end of the laparoscope provides a view of the inside of the abdomen, allowing the surgeon to see any abnormalities, such as tumors or diseased tissue. Instruments can be passed through the other incisions to perform any necessary surgical procedures, like tissue biopsies.

Laparoscopy is often used to diagnose peritoneal mesothelioma, it allows the surgeon to take a biopsy of the affected tissue. A biopsy is the removal of a small sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to determine if cancer is present. Laparoscopy can also be used to stage the disease, which means determining the extent of the cancer and whether it has spread to other areas of the body.


Laparotomy, on the other hand, is a more aggressive surgical procedure that involves making a large incision in the abdomen that allows direct access to the abdominal organs, diseased tissue and tumors. Laparotomy is often used when laparoscopy is not feasible or when a more extensive surgical procedure is required. During a laparotomy, the surgeon can remove as much of the cancerous tissue as possible and may also remove affected organs or nearby lymph nodes to determine if the cancer has spread.

While a laparotomy is more invasive than a laparoscopy, it may be more effective in treating peritoneal mesothelioma. In some cases, the surgeon may perform cytoreductive surgery, which involves removing all visible tumors and cancerous tissue from the abdomen. After the cytoreductive surgery, the surgeon may perform HIPEC, heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy, a procedure that infuses chemotherapy directly into the abdominal cavity to kill any remaining cancer cells.

Laparoscopy and laparotomy are two surgical procedures that may be used to diagnose, treat and manage peritoneal mesothelioma. Laparoscopy is a less invasive procedure that is often used in the diagnostic process for this rare cancer, while laparotomy is more aggressive and may be used to remove all visible tumors and cancerous tissue. Both procedures have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of procedure will depend on the individual case, the patient’s overall health status and the preferences of the treating physician.

Sources & Author

    1. Laparoscopy. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/4819-laparoscopy. Accessed 4/21/2023.
    2. Diagnostic Laparoscopy Improves Staging of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma With Routine Positron Emission Tomography Imaging. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33275932/. Accessed 4/22/2023.
    3. Laparotomy. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/24767-laparotomy. Accessed 4/21/2023
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About the Writer, Camryn Keeble

Camryn Keeble is the senior content writer and editor for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates informative content to educate mesothelioma patients and their loved ones on news, treatments and more. She also works diligently to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure and the effects of mesothelioma.