An oophorectomy is the surgical removal of the ovaries. An oophorectomy is the procedure to remove one (unilateral) or both (bilateral) ovaries.

Ovaries are almond-shaped organs that sit on each side of the uterus in the pelvis. The ovaries contain eggs and produce hormones that control the woman’s menstrual cycle. An oophorectomy can also be done as part of an operation to remove the uterus (hysterectomy). Laparoscopic surgery method is minimally invasive and uses a few small incisions on the lower abdomen for the procedure.

Why is a Laparoscopic Oophorectomy performed?

An oophorectomy may be necessary for patients who are having symptoms such as pain or discomfort from cysts, ovarian masses (both benign and malignant), ovarian abscess, endometriosis, ovarian torsion (a twisting of the ovary) and other conditions. A prophylactic (or preventive) oophorectomy are sometimes recommended for patients at high risk for gynecologic malignancies. 

How do you prepare for Laparoscopic Oophorectomy?

During your pre-procedure consultation your Viva Eve surgeon will discuss the following:

  • Anesthesia options and any allergies you may have
  • Current medications, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging for someone to pick you up after surgery

What can you expect during a Laparoscopic Oophorectomy?

This operation is performed under general anesthesia. A laparoscope – a thin tube with a camera on the end – is inserted into the abdomen, usually at the sight of the navel, through a small incision. Additional incisions are made in the abdomen. The abdomen is inflated to allow the surgeon to see inside. A scope with a light and camera is placed through the incision and images are sent to a nearby screen. 

With the aid of images projected on a video monitor the surgeon separates the ovary (or ovaries) from the blood supply and surrounding tissue and places them in a pouch. The pouch is pulled out of the abdomen through one of the small incisions.

Viva Eve’s gynecologic surgeons always advise patients during their preop consultation that in rare cases surgery that begins as laparoscopic may need to be converted to an open procedure during the operation.

What is the follow up and recovery like for a Laparoscopic Oophorectomy?

Recovery after oophorectomy depends on each patient’s individual situation, including the reason for the surgery and how it was performed. After this surgery, some patients are able to go home the same day and some need to stay at the hospital overnight. Laparoscopic oophorectomy usually offers quicker recovery, less pain and a shorter hospital stay. Most patients can return to full activity in two to four weeks after surgery.

What should I expect during recovery?

It is normal for the navel and abdomen area to be sore and possibly bruised after the procedure. Patients may feel discomfort in their shoulders and back from the gas placed in the abdomen during the procedure. Some patients may have some vaginal discharge or spotting after surgery.

If bandages were used to cover up the incisions, they can be removed 24 hours after surgery, and the adhesive or stitches will dissolve on their own. Patients may shower but are advised not to have baths or go swimming for about 2 weeks after the surgery.

Patients should take it easy the first week, and then gradually increase their activity level with short walks and light activity. They should avoid lifting heavy objects or doing strenuous exercise until their Viva Eve doctor clears them for such activities. Sexual activity can resume when the patient feels comfortable, and when the physician says it’s OK.

What are the potential risks for a Laparoscopic Oophorectomy?

The risks for laparoscopic oophorectomy surgery are similar to most other surgical operations. They include wound healing, bleeding, infection, and seroma (fluid collection) formation. Viva Eve’s surgeons will ensure that your recovery goes smoothly and if you follow the detailed postoperative instructions, you should heal quickly.

Planning for Fertility

After a bilateral oophorectomy the patient is no longer able to become pregnant and may experience symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes.

Patients who want to preserve their ability to become pregnant should ask their doctor to refer them to a fertility specialist who can review their options.

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