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What do I need to know about a salpingo-oophorectomy?

A salpingo-oophorectomy is surgery to remove one or both fallopian tubes and ovaries. The ovaries store and release eggs. The fallopian tubes carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. A salpingo-oophorectomy may be done to treat an ectopic pregnancy, infection, or cancer. It may also be done to prevent pregnancy or some types of cancer.

How do I prepare for a salpingo-oophorectomy?

  • Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery. You may need to stop taking blood thinners, aspirin, or NSAIDs several days before surgery. This may prevent bleeding during or after surgery. You may need blood tests, an x-ray, CT scan, or ultrasound before surgery. These tests will help your healthcare provider plan your surgery.
  • You may be given an antibiotic through your IV to help prevent a bacterial infection. You may need to empty your bladder before surgery. This may help your healthcare provider see your ovaries and fallopian tubes more clearly during surgery. It may also prevent injury to your bladder during surgery. Arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you after surgery.

What will happen during salpingo-oophorectomy?

  • You will be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. If your procedure will be done laparoscopically, your healthcare provider will make a small incision in your belly button and insert a laparoscope. A laparoscope is a long metal tube with a light and camera on the end. Your healthcare provider will also insert other tools through 2 to 3 smaller incisions made at different places on your abdomen. The abdomen will then be inflated with a gas (carbon dioxide). This lifts your abdomen away from your organs and gives your healthcare provider more space to work.
  • If your healthcare provider will remove your ovaries and fallopian tubes by an open procedure, he will make one large incision in your lower abdomen. In both types of surgeries, your healthcare provider will use tools to cut and remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Your incisions will be closed with stitches, staples, surgical glue, or surgical tape. The incisions may be covered with a bandage. A vaginal pack or sanitary pad may be used to absorb the bleeding. A vaginal pack is a special gauze that is inserted into the vagina and removed before you go home or to a hospital room.

What will happen after salpingo-oophorectomy?

Healthcare providers will monitor you until you are awake. You may be able to go home when your pain is controlled, or you may need to spend the night in the hospital. You may have bleeding or discharge from your vagina for several days. You may also feel pain in your shoulder or back. This is caused by the air that is put into your abdomen during surgery. Walk around as soon as you are awake after surgery. This may prevent blood clots.

What are the risks of salpingo-oophorectomy?

If both ovaries are removed, you may need to take hormone replacement medicine. This will prevent osteoporosis (brittle bones) and symptoms of menopause. Your uterus, bladder, or intestines may be injured during surgery. If you have a laparoscopic procedure, you may need open surgery to fix damage that may occur during surgery or stop bleeding. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. 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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Further information

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