1 What is an Oophorectomy?

Oophorectomy (Ovary Removal Surgery) is the surgical removal of the ovaries in order to prevent cancer. The ovary is an almond-like organ that is present on both sides of the uterus.

The major role of this organ is to produce eggs and regulate menstrual cycle by producing hormones. Oophorectomy can be of two types depending on the number of ovaries to be removed that is if only one ovary is removed then it is called unilateral oophorectomy and if both the ovaries are removed then it is called bilateral oophorectomy.

The women who have a higher risk of hereditary ovarian cancer  also have a higher risk for fallopian tube cancer and therefore along with the ovaries the fallopian tubes are also been removed.

Oophorectomy can also be done if a person is having abnormal hormone production by ovaries which may lead to other types of cancer like breast cancer or  severe endometriosis.

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2 Reasons for Procedure

The person can opt for an oophorectomy due to the following reasons:

The risk of hereditary ovarian cancer: The presence of abnormal genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2, increases the risk of development of the ovary cancer in women less than 70 years of age. If a woman is diagnosed with these abnormal genes, she should get her ovaries removed.

Once the ovaries are removed the lady will not be able to conceive a baby but the chances of ovarian cancer breast cancer will be negligible. One must consult a doctor for any kind of decision.

Breast cancer: The abnormal production of hormones from the ovaries increases the risk of breast cancer, therefore, opting for oophorectomy can reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. In the case of breast cancer, it is sometimes recommended to reduce the effect of hormones.

Ovarian torsion: Twisting of ovaries which may be caused due to the presence of cyst is also one of the reasons to go for oophorectomy.

Tubo-ovarian abscess: Occurrence of a pus pocket in the ovary or fallopian tube due to any inflammation can be another cause for oophorectomy.

Ovarian tumors or cysts: Oophorectomy may also be suggested if a patient is having benign tumor or cyst in the ovaries.

3 Potential Risks

Oophorectomy has very low risk but in some cases following complications or side-effects may be seen:

  • Bleeding
  • Increased risk of infection
  • The surgery may cause damage to nearby organs
  • May lead to rupturing of the tumor and therefore may lead to spreading of cancer to the other part of the body.
  • Small bowel obstruction
  • Premature menopause: Removal of ovaries before menopause will cause premature menopause and symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness may appear. This may cause anxiety, heart problems, memory problems, osteoporosis and may result in decreased sex drive and premature death

4 Preparing for your Procedure

In order to prepare for the oophorectomy the doctor will ask the patient to follow certain things like:

  • Drinking a solution in order to clear the intestine.
  • The patient is advised not to eat anything the day before the surgery.
  • The patient is also told not to have any kind of medication.

Certain imaging test may also be recommended like ultrasound and computerized tomography (CT) which can help the surgeon to plan the procedure to be followed during the surgery.

Some patients can be recommended to stay in the hospital for a few days which depend upon the procedure to be followed by the doctor.

5 What to Expect

Here you can find out what to expect from your oophorectomy. The surgery can be performed by following methods:

One large incision: This is the traditional way of doing the surgery, in which the doctor will make a single large cut in order to access the ovaries. The surgeon will separate both the ovaries from the blood supply and the other tissues and will then remove them.

Multiple small incisions: In this method, the laparoscopic surgery method is followed in which three to four small cuts are made in the abdomen and a tube is inserted along with a camera with one cut and the special surgical tools are inserted through other cuts. The camera will show the video of the organ which would be seen by the surgeon and the operation will be performed accordingly.

Robotic surgery: Laparoscopic surgery can be associated with robotic surgery. In this procedure, the doctor will see a 3D monitor and will use hand controls that will allow the movement of the surgical tools.

Laparoscopic and robotic surgery allows quicker recovery, causes less pain and requires a shorter stay in the hospital as compared to the traditional method. In some cases, these procedures do not work and therefore, the traditional method may be followed in between the laparoscopic procedure.

6 Procedure Results

The results of an oophorectomy  will be given by your doctor. The recovery of the patient depends on certain factors like the reason for the removal of the ovary and the procedure followed.

Usually, the patient will recover and get back to her normal routine by six weeks after the surgery if the traditional method is followed. If the laparoscopic  or robotic method is followed, the patient will recover much sooner.