An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac found on the ovary. These sacs can cause pressure, swelling and pain in the abdomen in some women, while others may experience no symptoms at all. Ovarian cysts are common and usually benign. Cysts that do not cause symptoms and go away on their own are commonly called functional cysts. However, ovarian cysts that continue to grow and cause problems may require ovarian cyst surgery. An ovarian cystectomy is the surgical removal of ovarian cysts.

Candidates For Ovarian Cyst Surgery

Surgery to remove ovarian cysts may be recommended for a woman if:

  • Cysts are present in both ovaries
  • The cyst is larger than three inches
  • They have already experienced menopause
  • The cyst is causing discomfort or pain
  • Ovarian Cyst Surgery

Ovarian cyst surgery can be used to both diagnose and treat ovarian cysts during the procedure. Types of ovarian cyst removal surgery include:

  • Laparoscopy

    Smaller cysts can often be examined and removed through a laparoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that uses a lighted tube and tiny instruments to remove the cyst. The cyst may be removed, or a biopsy sample can be taken.

  • Laparotomy

    Larger cysts may require a more traditional approach, called a laparotomy. This procedure requires an incision and the removal of the cyst and may also include the removal of the ovary and fallopian tube.

Unless the ovaries are removed a cystectomy does not prevent additional cysts from growing in the future.

Risks Of Ovarian Cyst Surgery

Ovarian cyst surgery is considered a safe procedure, however as with any surgery there are risks which may include:

  • Infection
  • Reaction to the anesthesia
  • Scar tissue may form on the ovaries or in the fallopian tubes
  • Bowel or bladder obstruction

Recovery From Ovarian Cyst Surgery

After a laparoscopy, patients can normally resume regular activities within a day, but are advised to avoid any strenuous activities for about a week. Patients who undergo a laparotomy may stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days and full recovery can take up to 4 weeks.

Ovarian cyst surgery may be suggested as a treatment option for ovarian cysts only after a complete diagnosis and full review of the patient’s medical history.