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Ovarian Cyst Removal

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 6, 2023.

What do I need to know about ovarian cyst removal?

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.

Female Reproductive System

How do I 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 should I 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.

What are the risks of 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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