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Ovarian Cyst Removal
What you need to know about ovarian cyst removal surgery:
This surgery, also called ovarian cystectomy, is used to remove a cyst from your ovary. Laparoscopic surgery through several small incisions may be used if the cyst is small. A laparotomy (open surgery) through one large incision may be needed if the cyst is large or could be cancer.
How to prepare for an ovarian cyst removal:
- Your surgeon will tell you about how to prepare for surgery. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight before your procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you home.
- You may need to stop taking any medicines that thin your blood 1 week or more before your procedure. These medicines include aspirin, ibuprofen, and anticoagulants.
- Your surgeon will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure.
- Your surgeon will ask if you plan to have children. This surgery may make it harder for you to get pregnant, especially if an ovary is removed during surgery.
What will happen during an ovarian cyst removal:
- You will be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep during surgery. Gas may be put into your abdomen to make it expand. This helps your surgeon see your ovary better and gives him or her more room to work.
- Your surgeon may start with laparoscopic surgery. He or she will make a small incision on or above your belly button. A laparoscope (small tube with a light on the end) will be put into this incision. Surgical tools will be put into your abdomen through other small incisions. Fluid will be taken and tested for cancer. If it is not cancer, the laparoscopic surgery will continue. If it is cancer, your surgeon will change to an open surgery. He or she will make a larger incision for this surgery.
- Your surgeon will separate your cyst from your ovary. He or she will take the cyst out through the incision in your abdomen or through your vagina. The ovary may need to be removed instead of just the cyst. The incision may be closed with medical glue, tape, or stitches, and then covered with a bandage.
What to expect after an ovarian cyst removal:
- You may have pain, swelling, or bruising where the surgery was done. You may also have pain in your shoulder or chest from the gas used during surgery. Pain, swelling, and bruising are normal and should get better in a few days.
- You may have some spotting for a few days after surgery. Use sanitary pads until the spotting stops.
Risks of an ovarian cyst removal:
- You may get another cyst if the ovary was not removed. You may have heavy bleeding from the blood vessels that were connected to the cyst. Surgery may cause your cyst to burst. Fluid from a burst cyst may leak cancer cells into your abdomen, or lead to an infection. You may also get a serious blood infection called sepsis.
- Your ovary may be damaged. This can make it hard for you to get pregnant. Your bladder or bowel may also be damaged. An adhesion may form. This is scar tissue that causes abdominal organs to stick together. You may get a blood clot in your limb. This may become life-threatening.
Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:
- You have chest pain when you take a deep breath or cough, or you cough up blood.
- You feel lightheaded and short of breath.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have heavy bleeding, or bleeding that does not stop.
- You have severe abdominal pain that does not go away, even with medicine.
Call your doctor or gynecologist if:
- Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
- You have vaginal discharge that is dark or smells foul.
- You have a fever.
- You have swelling in your arms or legs that does not go away after a few days.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Antibiotics prevent or fight an infection caused by bacteria.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams (4,000 milligrams) total of acetaminophen in one day.
- NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Apply ice to your incision areas. Ice helps relieve pain and swelling, and prevents tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover the bag with a towel before you apply it to your skin. Apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, or as directed.
- Do not lift heavy items. Your surgeon may tell you not to lift anything heavier than 5 or 10 pounds for several weeks.
- Follow your surgeon's directions for daily activities. Your surgeon will tell you when it is okay to drive, have sex, or return to other daily activities. You may not be able to return to work for a few weeks. This depends on the kind of job you have, and if you had laparoscopic or open surgery.
Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:
You may need tests to check your ovary or other reproductive organs. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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