Ovarian Cyst - Removal

This surgery involves the removal of an ovarian cyst through a cut in the lower abdomen.

This surgery involves the removal of an ovarian cyst through a cut in the lower abdomen.

The ovaries are organs in which eggs are produced for reproduction. They also make most of the female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone). An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops on or in an ovary. They are very common, especially during the childbearing years, and are rarely cancerous. (However, since cancer is a rare possibility, when ovarian cysts are drained or removed, the contents are examined by a pathologist to see if they are cancerous.) These are a few types of ovarian cysts:

  • Functional cysts are the most common. They typically cause few symptoms and disappear on their own within one to three months.
  • Dermoid cysts are cystic tumors that that contain various types of human tissue (e.g., hair, skin or teeth). They are not usually cancerous, may grow up to six inches in size and can cause severe pain when they become twisted. They usually require surgical removal.
  • Cystadenomas are cysts formed from cells on the outer surface of the ovary. They can cause pain and often need to be surgically removed.
  • Endometriomas are cysts that occur in endometrial tissue that has attached to an ovary and formed a growth. (Endometrial tissue is tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus.) They frequently need to be surgically removed.

If they do not go away, or cause significant symptoms (e.g., pain in the abdomen or pelvis or abnormal menstrual bleeding) ovarian cysts may need to be aspirated or surgically removed.

  • Ovarian cysts should be removed if they are larger than 2 to 4 inches, cause significant symptoms or do not go away on their own.
  • A laparoscopic aspiration of an ovarian cyst is a surgery that uses small medical instruments and a camera to remove the contents of an ovarian cyst. The instruments are inserted into three or four small cuts in the lower abdomen.

This care path includes the cost of a cyst removed through a larger incision in the lower abdomen.

Ovarian cysts do not always cause symptoms; some resolve on their own without treatment. Some symptoms that may be due to an ovarian cyst include:

  • Heavy or prolonged vaginal bleeding
  • Lack of monthly vaginal bleeding or shorter than usual menstrual cycle
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding
  • Bloating or swelling in the abdomen
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Pelvic pain shortly after beginning or ending a menstrual period
  • Painful intercourse or pelvic pain during movement
  • Constant, dull pelvic pain
  • Acute pain from sudden rupture of the cyst

Ovarian cysts can also cause infertility and scar tissue in the abdomen (adhesions).

Contact your healthcare provider if you have unexplained abdominal or pelvic pain or abnormal menstrual bleeding. He or she will perform a physical examination, including an examination of your pelvic area (internal exam). Your healthcare provider may also order laboratory tests and an ultrasound, CT scan and/or MRI imaging.

If your symptoms are severe, prolonged or interfere with your activities of daily living, your healthcare provider may recommend draining or removal of the cyst. Together you should discuss why you need to have surgery and what alternative treatments might be available to you.

  • Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) can help make your menstrual cycles normal and lessen the chance you will develop an ovarian cyst.
  • Your healthcare provider may recommend other treatments if a disorder, such as polycystic ovary disease, is causing the ovarian cysts.

Prior to surgery to remove an ovarian cyst, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery. These may include:

  • Medications you should not take before the surgery, such as blood thinners
  • Regular medications you should take on the day of your surgery
  • How many hours you should stop eating and drinking before surgery

If you are a smoker, you should quit smoking, as it can interfere with your recovery.

During your surgery, you will receive anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free.

  • General anesthesia is the most common type of anesthesia for this surgery. You will be put into a deep sleep and be unable to see, hear or feel anything.
  • You may have a small amount of bloody vaginal discharge and cramping.
  • You should arrange to have someone drive you home after the surgery.
  • Pain medication and help at home may be needed while you recover.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having this surgery?

  • What is my diagnosis and reason for the procedure? What other alternatives are available to me? Is laparoscopic surgery an option? If not, then why?
  • What are the chances my symptoms will come back after the procedure?
  • How likely is it that my ovarian cyst is due to cancer? How will you address this concern during the procedure?
  • Is there any other special preparation for the procedure? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)
  • What kind of sedation will I have? What are the possible side effects?
  • What are the possible complications, how will I feel after the procedure, and how will I have to modify my activity?
  • When can I resume sexual activity?
  • What will happen to me if I do not have this or any other procedure?

After your procedure, it is important to know what you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider. Understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans. Finally, make sure your gynecologist tells your primary care physician the details of your procedure and treatment plan.

Source UHC.com

Also known as:

Ovarian Cyst - Removal

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