Ovarian Cyst Surgery: What to Expect

Ovarian cyst surgery, also known as ovarian cystectomy, is a surgical procedure designed to remove fluid-filled sacs or pouches on the ovaries, referred to as ovarian cysts. Common ovarian cyst causes include hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), ovulation and associated drugs, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and, in some instances, cancer.

While ovarian cysts are common and often resolve spontaneously. If they persist, enlarge, or cause symptoms such as pelvic pain and difficulty during emptying bowels, healthcare providers may recommend a cystectomy. The surgical procedure encompasses various types of ovarian cystectomy, and a comprehensive understanding of the details, benefits, and risks is crucial. Surgeons recommend  ovarian cyst treatment after considering various factors such as pain, size of the cyst, risk of cancer, pregnancy plans, and previous surgeries. Consulting with an ovarian cyst specialist is essential for individuals to explore the most suitable approach and gain a thorough understanding of the procedure.

Types of Ovarian Cyst Surgeries

Surgeons use the following two methods for the removal of ovarian cysts:

  • Open Cystectomy (Laparotomy Ovarian Cysts): In open cystectomy (laparotomy), a single large incision is made in the abdomen to remove the ovarian cyst.
  • Laparoscopic Ovarian Cystectomy: In laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy, a small incision in the abdomen allows the surgeon to insert a miniature camera (laparoscope) equipped with a light. This enables them to visualise the reproductive and pelvic organs. Two additional small incisions are made for the insertion of surgical tools, through which the ovarian cyst is then extracted.

Most ovarian cyst surgeons typically prefer laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy due to its minimally invasive nature, which facilitates a quick and smooth recovery for the patient. However, in cases where cancer is suspected or if the cyst is too large for laparoscopic removal, open surgery may become the sole viable option.

Procedure Details

What Happens During an Ovarian Cyst Surgery?

For an ovarian cystectomy, the patient undergoes general anaesthesia, administered through an intravenous (IV) catheter inserted by the anaesthesia provider. The IV delivers the necessary medications and fluids during the surgical procedure. Once the patient is asleep and prepared for surgery, the ovarian cyst specialist initiates the process.

In the case of a laparoscopic cystectomy, the surgeon introduces a laparoscope through a small incision near the patient’s belly button. This device, equipped with a camera, allows the surgeon to visualise the pelvic organs after inflating the abdominal wall with carbon dioxide. This inflation, resembling a balloon effect, provides an optimal view. Subsequently, two to three additional small incisions are made in the lower abdominal region for the insertion of surgical instruments. The cyst is removed through one of these incisions, and the surgeon may opt to test it for cancer.

Following the procedure, the surgeon deflates the patient’s abdomen and closes the small incisions using dissolvable stitches, typically covered with a bandage.

In cases where a laparoscopic cystectomy is not feasible, the surgeon resorts to open surgery. This involves creating a larger incision in the abdomen for the removal of the ovarian cyst. After extraction, the surgeon sutures the incision, securing the skin with stitches and applying a protective bandage.

What Happens after an Ovarian Cyst Surgery?

Following the ovarian cyst surgery, the patient will be transferred to the recovery room. Upon regaining consciousness, they might experience some discomfort owing to the use of carbon dioxide or the surgical procedure itself. The surgical team will closely monitor vital signs, such as blood pressure and heart rate.

For those undergoing a laparoscopic cystectomy, the possibility of returning home within two or three hours exists, while individuals who underwent open surgery may require an overnight stay.

The surgeon will provide the patient with specific postoperative instructions, covering topics such as:

  • Showering or bathing.
  • Caring for the incision.
  • Modifications are to be made to their usual activities.
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment.
  • Information regarding expected vaginal bleeding or other symptoms during recovery.
  • Medications for managing pain and discomfort.
  • Guidance on when it is okay to have sexual intercourse or place objects into the vagina.
  • Return-to-work timeline.

Benefits of Ovarian Cyst Surgery

The benefits of an ovarian cystectomy include:

  • Removal of Painful or Large Cysts: Ovarian cysts can cause pain or discomfort, and cystectomy can alleviate these ovarian cyst symptoms by removing the cyst.
  • Prevention of Complications: Surgical removal of cysts can prevent complications such as cyst rupture, ovarian torsion (twisting), or potential damage to surrounding tissues.
  • Diagnostic Evaluation: If there is suspicion of cancer or if the cyst is large and complex, the removed cyst can be analysed to determine its nature, providing important diagnostic information.
  • Preservation of Ovary: Ovarian cystectomy aims to preserve the affected ovary, which is particularly important for women who wish to maintain fertility.

Risks

The ovarian cystectomy procedure is generally considered safe, but like many surgical interventions, it carries inherent risks. The surgeon will engage in a discussion with the patient regarding these potential risks. Some of the complications that may arise include:

  • Infection.
  • Irritation at the site of the incision.
  • Injury to surrounding tissues, the ovary, or the fallopian tube.
  • Bleeding.
  • Allergic reaction to anaesthesia.
  • Formation of blood clots.
  • Recurrence of the cyst post-surgery.
  • The necessity of removing one or both ovaries (oophorectomy).

Individuals who have undergone prior pelvic or abdominal surgeries may face an elevated risk of complications. Other factors, such as smoking, diabetes, or obesity, can also increase the likelihood of complications. Patients should engage in thorough discussions with their ovarian cyst specialist to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the potential risks associated with the surgery.

Recovery

Individual recovery times can vary, with the specific duration depending on the person. Following a laparoscopic cystectomy, the typical recovery period ranges from one to three weeks. Within one to two weeks, individuals may find themselves capable of resuming regular activities, including a return to work. It is often possible to gradually reintroduce light physical activities during this time. In contrast, if an open cystectomy is performed, the recovery period may extend up to eight weeks.

Conclusion

The ovarian cystectomy is a surgical treatment designed for the removal of ovarian cysts. If an individual has a persistently large cyst or one that doesn’t resolve naturally, their ovarian cyst specialist might suggest an ovarian cystectomy through either laparoscopic or laparotomy methods. The ovarian cyst specialist will engage in a detailed discussion with the patient, presenting information on both surgical procedures and recommending the most suitable treatment based on the individual’s specific condition.

Disclaimer

This article has been written for information purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice by a qualified doctor or other health care professional. The author is not responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any form of damages whatsoever resulting from the use (or misuse) of information contained in or implied by the information in this article. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for accurate diagnosis, personalised treatment, and recommendations tailored to your individual health needs.

By Andrew Jonathan

Andrew Jonathan is the marketing consultant for C.U.in UK. His extensive business and marketing expertise has positioned him as a user experience specialist and product strategist eager to take on new challenges that provide value to the firm. He is passionate about writing educational posts for various blogging platforms.

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