Ovarian cyst removal is surgery to remove one or more cysts from one or both ovaries. A laparoscopic surgery uses small incisions and specialized tools. It may offer faster recovery times than open surgery, which uses a larger abdominal incision.
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Reasons for Procedure
An ovarian cyst may need to be removed if it is:
- Causing pain
- Suspected of being cancerous
- Large—more than 2.5 inches in diameter
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
- Excess bleeding
- Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
- Blood clots
- Damage to other organs
- Cyst returns after it is removed
- Need for removal of one or both ovaries
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
- Anesthesia options
- Any allergies you may have
- Current medicines, 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
- Whether you need a ride to and from surgery
- Tests that will need to be done before surgery, such as images of the pelvic organs
- What action should be taken if cancer is found during surgery
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep.
Description of the Procedure
A small incision will be made just below the navel. Next, a laparoscope will be inserted. This is a thin tube with a camera on the end. Carbon dioxide gas will be pumped into the abdomen to allow the doctor to view the organs better. The laparoscope will be used to locate the cyst. When it is found, one or two more incisions will be made. Small tools will be inserted through them. The cyst wil be removed. Tissue may be removed for testing. If cancer is found, both ovaries may need to be removed. The instruments will be removed. The incision area will be closed with stitches or staples. Bandages will be placed over the area.
The doctor may need to switch to open surgery if the procedure cannot be done laparoscopically. During an open surgery, a larger incision will be made in the abdomen to do the surgery.
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How Long Will It Take?
1 to 2 hours
Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
Most people can go home the next day. If there are any problems, you may need to stay longer.
Some pain is common in the first few days. Medicine and home care help.
Right after the procedure, the staff may:
- Give you pain medicine
- Encourage you to walk
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:
- Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
- Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
- Not letting others touch your incisions
It will take up to 2 weeks to fully heal. Physical activity will be limited during this time. Sex will need to be avoided. Ask for help with daily activities and delay your return to work.
Call Your Doctor
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
- Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incisions
- Pain that you cannot control with the medicine you have been given
- Vaginal bleeding that soaks more than one pad per hour
- Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or lasting blood in the urine
- Swelling, redness, or pain in the legs
- New or worsening symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services
Women's Health Matters
Ovarian cyst. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/ovarian-cyst. Accessed August 26, 2021.
Ovarian cysts. Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/ovarian-cysts.html. Accessed August 26, 2021.
Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardBeverly Siegal, MD, FACOG Last Updated: 8/26/2021