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Laparoscopic oophorectomy

4-minute read

This page will give you information about a laparoscopic oophorectomy. If you have any questions, ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is an oophorectomy?

An oophorectomy is an operation to remove one of or both your ovaries. The fallopian tube connected to your ovary is usually removed at the same time. .

What are the benefits of surgery?

Needing to remove an ovarian cyst is the most common reason for having an oophorectomy. A cyst can cause symptoms such as pain, bloating, pressure on your bowel or bladder, and sometimes tiredness. An oophorectomy should improve your symptoms.

Illustration showing a laparoscopic oophorectomy.
A laparoscopic oophorectomy.

Some women have a family history of ovarian cancer so removing their ovaries will remove the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

An oopherectomy may also be performed to treat problems such as a twisted ovary and endometriosis, where the lining of your uterus (womb) grows outside your womb.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Pain is usually controlled with painkillers or by using hormone treatment such as the oral contraceptive pill.

If you have not yet gone through menopause, small cysts can usually be safely left alone.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic but various anaesthetic techniques are possible.

The operation usually takes about 30 minutes.

Your gynaecologist will make a small cut, usually on or near your umbilicus (belly button), so they can insert an instrument in your abdominal cavity to inflate it with gas (carbon dioxide). They will make several small cuts on your abdomen so they can insert tubes (ports) into your abdomen. Your gynaecologist will insert surgical instruments through the ports along with a telescope so they can see inside your abdomen and perform the operation.

For each ovary that needs to be removed, your gynaecologist will separate your ovary, and usually the connected fallopian tube, from the blood supply and surrounding tissue. They will remove your ovary through one of the small cuts.

What complications can happen?

Some of these can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • pain
  • feeling or being sick
  • bleeding
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • unsightly scarring of your skin
  • blood clot in your leg
  • blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

Keyhole surgery complications

  • surgical emphysema
  • damage to structures such as your bowel, bladder or blood vessels
  • making a hole in your womb or cervix with possible damage to a nearby structure
  • developing a hernia near one of the cuts used to insert the ports

Oophorectomy complications

  • ovarian remnant syndrome
  • damage to a ureter

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

Rest for 1 to 2 days and take painkillers if you need them.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most women make a good recovery and return to normal activities.

Summary

An oophorectomy is an operation to remove one of or both your ovaries. An ovarian cyst is the most common reason for having an oophorectomy. It is also performed to treat problems such as a twisted ovary and to remove the risk of developing ovarian cancer.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you. Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2020


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