Just Ask the Expert: What's the best prophylactic gastropexy technique?


Dr. Jenifer Newton tells about her go-to technique to prevent GDV in dogs.

Dr. Newton welcomes surgery questions from veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

Click here to submit your question, or send an e-mail to vm@advanstar.com with the subject line "Surgery questions."

Q. Which technique should I use for prophylactic gastropexy at the time of spaying and neutering in dogs that I think will be at risk for developing gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV)?

A. My preferred technique for gastropexy in general is laparoscopic-assisted. However, if you are doing an open spay or routine castration or do not perform a laparoscopy, I would recommend the belt-loop technique.

Dr. Jenifer Newton

The belt-loop gastropexy is relatively quick to perform, the seromuscular flap in the stomach wall is easy to dissect, and there is a low risk of penetration into the gastric lumen. Unlike the circumcostal technique, in which a specific rib is isolated and incorporated, the belt-loop has increased flexibility in the placement of the tunnel in the abdominal wall and virtually no risk of creating a pneumothorax. Adhesion formation is extremely reliable with this procedure.

Incisional gastropexies are also a great choice in that they are quick and easy to perform. The only caveat would be to make absolutely sure the sutures are muscle layer to muscle layer when closing stomach to body wall. This ensures adequate adhesion formation. Also, be vigilant not to penetrate the mucosa of the stomach when making the gastric incision.


Rasmussen L. Stomach. In: Slatter D, ed. Textbook of small animal surgery, Volume 1. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier, 2003;592-643.

Jenifer Newton, DVM, MS, DACVS

Saint Francis Veterinary Specialists

625 Dekalb Industrial Way, Suite 500

Decatur, GA 30033

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