An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac, also known as a follicle, which holds a maturing egg. It forms on the surface of the ovary and disappears shortly after the release of the egg. If a mature egg is never released, or if the sac reseals following release of the egg, the sac may swell up with fluid forming a functional ovarian cyst. While most functional ovarian cysts never cause symptoms and go away on their own, sometimes they may rupture, twist, or bleed, causing several pelvic pains. In some cases, the solution to this problem is through having an ovarian cystectomy, or cyst removal.
The normal ovary is naturally a somewhat cystic structure. Ovarian cysts typically form due to disordered ovulation in which the follicle fails to release the oocyte, a female gametocyte or germ cell involved in reproduction. In this case, the follicular cells will continue to secrete fluid and expand the follicle, which over time may become cystic.
When an ovarian growth or cyst needs to be observed closely, typically a surgeon will do a small incision using laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure where a lighted viewing instrument, or laparoscope, is inserted into the abdomen. The procedure may also be done with laparotomy, when a larger incision is made to observe the abdominal cavity. This is how the doctor will diagnose if the condition of an ovarian cyst exists.
If a cyst is found to be present, during surgery the noncancerous cyst will be removed in the process of an ovarian cystectomy. The ovary is left intact during this process. In some cases, particularly when cancer is involved, the entire ovary or both ovaries are removed. General anesthesia is used during the procedure.
Recovery time is dependent on the exact procedure used and your unique health situation. However, general recovery time for an ovarian cystectomy following laparoscopy is that normal activities can be resumed within a day, with no strenuous behaviors or exercises for a week minimum. If a laparotomy is needed with the larger incision, generally a patient may stay in the hospital for two to four days, with normal activities resumed after four to six weeks.
When an Ovarian Cystectomy is Performed
As mentioned previously, ovarian cystectomy is not always necessary. Ovarian cysts may never cause symptoms and simply resolve themselves on their own. However, surgery will be used in cases where it is necessary to confirm the diagnosis of the ovarian cyst, remove a cyst that is causing symptoms, and to rule out ovarian cancer.
The following situations typically result in the need for ovarian cystectomy surgery:
- In both ovaries, ovarian growths, or masses, are present
- Circumstances where ovarian cancer may be present
- The ovarian cyst is found to be larger than 3 inches
- An ovarian cyst after discovery does not resolve itself within two to three months
- If an ultrasound shows that a cyst may not be a simple functional cyst
- If the patient has an ovarian growth, but is a young girl who has never had a menstrual period, a woman who has been through menopause, or if certain birth control pills are used.
How Successful Are Procedures?
Ovarian cystectomies are commonly performed with great success. An ovarian cyst can be removed without damaging a woman’s fertility or causing any other major problems. In some cases, a new cyst may form on the same or opposite ovary following the procedure. New cysts can only be completely prevented by removing the ovaries, which of course would result in infertility.
Complications of an ovarian cystectomy typically involve nothing more than bleeding and inadvertent cyst rupture during surgery (intraoperatively). Electrocautery is typically used to manage any bleeding. In the event of a cyst rupture, it is possible the spillage of the contents may spread the condition to other parts of the pelvis. It’s important that if spillage occurs during surgery, the pelvis is copiously irrigated. The frequency of intraoperative cyst rupture ranges from 6-27% for laparoscopic cystectomy. This occurs more frequently than during laparotomy.
As mentioned previously, ovarian cystectomy can be performed while preserving fertility. However, there are still certain situations that could result based on your unique situation that could affect fertility during the procedure. Only your doctor can correctly advise you regarding what risks may be associated with the treatment for your individual situation.
Whether or not ovarian cystectomy is a reasonable solution to your problems is a determination only a doctor can make. Your unique health needs may result in changes in recovery time, preparations for surgery, and some considerations following surgery. Depending on the frequency with which you experience ovarian cysts and your future desires in regards to childbirth, a doctor may recommend removal of the ovaries as a permanent solution to the problem. Again, your unique situation will determine how your doctor may advise you to proceed and may impact your own decisions on how your treatment of symptoms will be managed.
Find a Doctor for Ovarian Cystectomy
It’s important to choose a good doctor or gynecologist for an ovarian cystectomy. The procedure can be performed while preserving fertility in most cases, and a good doctor can give you the best chance of a successful surgery.
Complete Care Surgical Center is proud to offer ovarian cystectomy procedures to patients with a team of professional doctors that will ensure your needs are addressed before, during, and after the procedure. Ovarian cysts can be a cause of great discomfort, and you deserve the best care in ensuring your procedure will be conducted professionally.
To schedule an appointment or ask questions, call us at 855 376-2496. We offer convenient hours of operation to serve our patients readily.
You deserve to be healthy, happy, and treated by a team of professionals who truly care about your health and well being. Don’t hesitate; contact us today!