When an ovarian growth or cyst needs to be
closely looked at, a surgeon can do so through a small incision using
laparoscopy or through a larger abdominal incision
(laparotomy). Either type of surgery can be used to
diagnose problems such as
fibroids, and pelvic infection. But if there is any
concern about cancer, you may have a laparotomy. It gives the best view of the
abdominal organs and the
female pelvic organs. Then, if the doctor finds ovarian cancer, he or she can
safely remove it.
During surgery, a noncancerous cyst that is
causing symptoms can be removed (cystectomy), leaving the ovary intact. In some
cases, the entire ovary or both ovaries are removed, particularly when cancer
Use birth control
pills (unless you are using low-dose progestin-only pills or have missed a
pill, which would make an ovulation-related functional cyst more
Your doctor is concerned that
ovarian cancer may be present. In this case, it is
also advised that you see a gynecologic oncologist.
How Well It Works
An ovarian cyst can be removed from
an ovary (cystectomy), preserving the ovary and your fertility. But it is
possible for a new cyst to form on the same or opposite ovary after a
cystectomy. New cysts can only be completely prevented by removing the ovaries
Risks of ovarian surgery include the
Ovarian cysts may come back after a
Pain may not be controlled.
(adhesions) may form at the surgical site, on the ovaries or fallopian tubes,
or in the pelvis.
Infection may develop.
The bowel or
bladder may be damaged during surgery.
What To Think About
Surgery may be recommended if you
have a large cyst, cysts in both ovaries, or other characteristics that may
suggest ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer can occur in women of all ages, but the
incidence increases after menopause.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.