The outcome from surgery varies with the disease process, as does the course and duration of recovery. Exploratory laparotomy is most commonly performed for trauma, severe abdominal pain of unknown cause, intestinal obstruction, inflammatory diseases like appendicitis and diverticulitis, and cancer of any of the abdominal organs.
Review Date 1/7/2018
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.