While ovarian cysts are usually harmless and do not cause pain or discomfort, the cysts can persist to grow into bigger sizes and some can be cancerous. In cases such as these, ovarian cyst removal is required to get rid of the suspicious cysts that can cause serious medical conditions.
Ovarian cysts are removed through surgical procedures and it can be intimidating if you are not aware of the necessary steps that will be undertaken during and after the procedure. This article ensures that you get all the basic information you will need for ovarian cyst removal. Having full awareness of surgical procedures like ovarian cyst removal can give patients confidence throughout the whole process.
Procedures for Ovarian Cyst Removal
Laparoscopy (Keyhole Surgery)
This is a minimally invasive procedure that is used for the removal of small and simple ovarian cysts that are not cancerous.
We asked a medical expert from PK Women’s Specialist Clinic to give us more details on the matter. Here is what they spilled. First of all, laparoscopy is always done under general anaesthesia to make the patient go into a deep sleep throughout the procedure. Once the anaesthesia takes effect, your surgeon will make one small (about 5mm to 1cm long) incision near your navel. Through the incisions, a laparoscope or tube-like hand-held instrument with a telescopic camera will be inserted so the person gets a clear of the organs, particularly the ovary.
Using the laparoscope as a guide, they can examine your ovaries and surgically remove the ovarian cysts through another two small incisions on the lower part of your abdomen, usually one on each side. This procedure is also called keyhole surgery because it is not as invasive and the affected organs are accessed through very small incisions the size of keyholes.
Once the procedure is over and the ovarian cysts have been removed, the laparoscope will be retracted and the incisions will be stitched closed with bioabsorbable sutures. Then, the wound will be bandaged up to protect it from external irritations during recovery.
Laparotomy (Open Surgery)
If the ovarian cyst is very large or there is a possibility of it being cancerous, laparotomy or open surgery will be most likely recommended by your doctor to remove the cyst. Laparotomy may also be employed when laparoscopy cannot be done effectively.
For this procedure, your surgeon will have to make bigger incisions on your abdomen to access the ovary and perform surgical removal of large or cancerous ovarian cysts. Throughout the procedure, patients will be put under general anaesthesia and will be unconscious the whole time. After the ovarian cyst removal, the incisions will be stitched closed and the wound will be bandaged up.
During laparotomy, your surgeon will remove as many cysts as possible. However, in cases where the cysts are too large or the cancerous cyst has spread, removal of the whole ovary is required. Removal of the whole ovary can bring fertility issues, so it is important that you discuss this with your doctor first before undergoing open surgery.
Recovery from an ovarian cyst removal
Usually, laparoscopy is an out-patient procedure, meaning you may go home on the same day given that there are no complications. After the procedure, your vital signs will be monitored and other tests may be needed to verify that you are clear to go home. If not fit to go home, your doctor will require you to stay overnight for further observations.
Compared to the laparoscopic procedure, recovery time for laparotomy or open surgery is much longer. After a laparotomy, you will be required to stay in the hospital for up to three days (or more) to allow proper postoperative care and monitoring.
Recovery time for ovarian cyst removal can vary from person to person depending on the extent of surgical procedure performed. Usually, full recovery from laparoscopy can take a week or more and for open surgery, it can take a month or more to be able to go back to normal activities.
Important tips for recovery from both ovarian cyst removal procedures:
- During recovery, your doctor will prescribe pain medication or antibiotics so better take these medications seriously to prevent infection.
- While in recovery, it is recommended that you stop drinking alcohol or perform heavy labour and strenuous activities as these activities can cause complications that will require further treatments.
- In some cases, where non-bioabsorbable stitches are used, these will have to be removed by a nurse or medical practitioner a week after the ovarian cyst removal so you will be required to go back at the clinic.
- If you experience bleeding, severe abdominal pain, persistent light-headedness, vomiting, high fever or develop some sort of infection while recovering from ovarian cyst removal procedure, you should call your doctor right away.
Results of ovarian cyst removal
When done by a skilled doctor, results from laparoscopy is usually good and no complications are developed. In the course of your recovery time, your doctor may require you to come back to the clinic for follow-up check-ups and monitoring.
Ovarian cyst removal procedures only remove the existing ovarian cyst and cannot prevent new ones from growing. For preventive measures, talk to your doctor for possible medications and pieces of advice to prevent the cysts from coming back. Also, regular pelvic examinations help ensure that any change in your ovaries and other reproductive organs are detected as early as possible.
A word of advice
Finally, ovarian cyst removal can have a great impact on your health not just physically but also emotionally so it is better to have someone like a friend or loved one accompany you during your procedure to give you support and care before and after the procedure.