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A cyst is a fluid filled sac that can develop in any area of the body. Ovarian cysts can develop in or around your ovaries. Quite often they are benign (non-cancerous) and cause no symptoms. Left untreated they often disappear on their own. However if the cyst is large or continues to cause symptoms your consultant may recommend an Ovarian Cystectomy. Your surgical procedure will depend on the size and nature of your ovarian cyst.

What happens during ovarian cystectomy?

An ovarian cystectomy is usually done under general anaesthetic. The length of time and the specific procedure will be determined by the type and size of your ovarian cyst. Two types of surgery are used:

Laparoscopic surgery -  your surgeon will make several small incisions (cuts) in your abdomen. A very thin tube consisting of a camera and light source called a laparoscope will be inserted in one incision to light up and examine the area around your ovaries. Your surgeon can then display images of the area on a monitor connected to the laparoscope. Tiny surgical instruments or lasers will be inserted through the other incisions to remove the cyst and seal the area on your ovary. The incisions will be closed using stitches.

Laparotomy - if there is a possibility that the cyst is large, your surgeon may need to use a more invasive procedure. They will access the cyst through an incision (cut) in your abdomen. They will remove the cyst through this incision. In some cases they may need to remove one or both ovaries. Samples may be sent to a lab to check for cancer. The incision will be closed using stitches. You may be asked to wear compression socks to prevent blood clots (deep vein thrombosis).

Going home after ovarian cystectomy

Patients who have laparoscopic surgery may be able to go home the day of the procedure. You may need to stay one or two nights in hospital. You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home.

You may have abdominal pain for 7-10 days following your surgery. Be sure and take any prescribed pain medication. Our healthcare team will advise you on how to care for your surgical wounds. You may be given a date for a followup appointment.

Everyone recovers from surgery differently. Full recovery can take three to four weeks. Follow any advice on resuming strenuous activities.

With any surgical procedure there can be complications including:

Specific complications of ovarian cystectomy:

  • Damage to other organs
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Fever or chills
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Surgical wound infection

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns with your consultant?