Ovarian Cyst Removal—Laparoscopic Surgery

Definition

Ovarian cyst removal is surgery to remove a cyst or cysts from one or both of your ovaries. A laparoscopic surgery uses small incisions and specialized tools. It may offer faster recovery times than open surgery.

Ovarian Cyst

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Reasons for Procedure    TOP

An ovarian cyst may need to be removed if it is:

  • Suspected of being cancerous —the chances are lower if you are young
  • Large—more than 2.5 inches in diameter
  • Solid—rather than containing just fluid
  • Causing pain

Possible Complications    TOP

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an ovarian cyst removed, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Cyst returns after it is removed
  • Need for removal of one or both ovaries
  • Infertility
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to other organs

Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity
  • The use of certain prescription medications

The following may also increase your risk of complications:

  • Pregnancy
  • Prior abdominal surgery

What to Expect    TOP

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor may do the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Review of medications
  • Blood tests
  • Urine test
  • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of organs
  • Ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to examine the abdomen
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)—a test that records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle

Talk to your doctor about what action should be taken if cancer is found during surgery. One option is to remove the ovary.

Leading up to the surgery:

  • Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen
    • Blood thinners
    • Anti-platelet medications
  • Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital. Also, arrange for someone to help you at home.
  • Do not eat or drink for at least eight hours before the surgery.

Anesthesia

  • General anesthesia —blocks pain and keeps you asleep through the surgery; given through an IV in your hand or arm
  • Local anesthesia—just the area that is being operated on is numbed; given as an injection and may also be given with a sedative

Description of the Procedure    TOP

A small incision will be made just below the navel. Next, a laparoscope will be inserted. This is a thin tube with a camera on the end. To allow the doctor to better view the organs, carbon dioxide gas will be pumped into the abdomen. The laparoscope will be used to locate the cyst. When it is found, one or two more incisions will be made. Surgical instruments will be inserted to remove the cyst. Tissue may be removed for testing. If cancer is found, both ovaries may need to be removed. After the cyst is removed, the instruments will be removed. The incision area will be closed with stitches or staples.

In some cases, the doctor may switch to an open surgery. A larger incision will be made in the abdomen to do the surgery.

Laparoscopic Ovary Removal

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Immediately After Procedure    TOP

After the procedure, you will be given IV fluids and medications while recovering.

How Long Will It Take?    TOP

1-2 hours

Will It Hurt?    TOP

There will be pain after the surgery. Your doctor will give you pain medication.

Average Hospital Stay    TOP

You may stay overnight, or you may be able to leave the hospital the same day as your surgery.

Post-procedure Care    TOP

During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered

There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
  • Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
  • Not allowing others to touch your incisions

Recovery may take 1-2 weeks.

Call Your Doctor    TOP

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
  • Increased vaginal bleeding or discharge
  • Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain
  • Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
  • Headaches, muscle aches, lightheadedness, or general ill feeling
  • Constipation or abdominal swelling
  • Vomiting
  • Urinary difficulties
  • Onset of pain or swelling in one or both legs
  • New, unexplained symptoms

In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

RESOURCES:

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
http://www.acog.org
National Uterine Fibroids Foundation
http://www.nuff.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Women's Health Matters
http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

References:

Ovarian cyst. American Academy of Family Physicians' FamilyDoctor.org website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated August 2010. Accessed January 7, 2014.
Ovarian cysts. Office on Women's Health website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated July 16, 2012. Accessed January 7, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2013 by Andrea Chisholm, MD
Last Updated: 01/28/2014
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