Laparotomy: Evaluation of the contents of the abdomen for the purpose of determining the extent of disease.
An adequate staging laparotomy includes
1. Abdominal exploration
2. Bone marrow biopsy
3. Multiple lymph node biopsies
5. Wedge and needle biopsies of the liver
With advances in imaging, the use of staging laparotomies has declined substantially. Information originally found only during laparotomy is now able through more advanced imaging techniques
A staging laparotomy is not routinely done for Hodgkin lymphoma, unless the opportunity for obtaining better staging information exceeds the risk of operative morbidity.
Staging laparotomy is considered a diagnostic procedure rather than surgical treatment. The staging laparotomy is an opportunity to identify landmarks within the abdomen, such as unresectable large nodes or the splenic pedicle, which will affect the design of radiation treatment for the patient. Precise staging is important for Hodgkin lymphoma and to a lesser extent non-Hodgkin lymphoma.