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What You Need to Know About Ovarian Cyst Removal

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  • In some cases when a cyst is found, the gynecologist may still recommend surgically removing it, even if no symptoms are present
  • Removing the cyst earlier can help reduce the risk of the cyst becoming cancerous in the future

For some patients, a surgery that'll remove the ovarian cyst/s may be needed to help with alleviating pain. Prior to asking you to undergo a surgery, however, a gynecologist will need to determine if you really need this procedure, by checking if the cyst:1

Exhibits common symptoms

Is large, typically over 5 centimeters in diameter2

Does not look like a functional cyst

Is continuously growing

Persists through two or three menstrual cycles

In some cases, even if no symptoms are present when a cyst is found, the gynecologist may still recommend surgically removing it, because it may not be possible to determine the type of cyst affecting you without checking it under a microscope. Furthermore, removing the cyst earlier can help reduce the risk of the cyst becoming cancerous in the future.3

What Surgical Procedures Are Needed to Remove Ovarian Cysts?

There are two types of surgery for patients with ovarian cysts. These are:4

Laparoscopy or keyhole surgery: The surgeon first makes two small cuts in the lower abdomen, and another one in the belly button. Afterward, gas is blown into the pelvis to raise the abdominal wall away from the internal organs. The laparoscope, a small tube with a light on one end, is inserted into the abdomen to allow the surgeon to view the internal organs.

Using very small tools, the surgeon can remove the cyst via the small incisions. Sometimes, a sample or biopsy of the cyst is taken to determine its type. The patient can go home the same day of the procedure, in most cases.

Laparotomy: A more complicated procedure, a laparotomy is recommended for patients with cancerous ovarian cysts. Instead of small cuts, the surgeon makes one large cut5 across the top of the pubic hairline. This provides the surgeon with better access to the cyst. After removing it, the cyst is sent to a laboratory for examination. Unlike a laparoscopy, a patient who undergoes a laparotomy has to stay in the hospital for a few more days.

Typically, a patient who has an ovarian cyst removed will feel pain in the stomach, although this can improve within a day or two. Recovery time after an ovarian cyst removal depends on which surgery a patient undergoes. A laparoscopy typically requires a two-week recovery period, while a laparotomy would need a longer recovery period of around six to eight weeks.6

After a few weeks, you might need to visit your gynecologist to discuss test results (if your cyst was sent to a laboratory for further checking) and to see if you need further treatment. However, if you experience any of the following during your recovery, consult your gynecologist immediately:

Heavy bleeding

Dark or smelly vaginal discharge

Severe pain or swelling in the abdomen

High-temperature fever


Ovarian Cyst: an Introduction

What Is Ovarian Cyst?

Ruptured Ovarian Cyst

Ovarian Cyst During Pregnancy

Ovarian Cyst Symptoms

Ovarian Cyst Pain

Ovarian Cyst Causes

Ovarian Cyst Types

Ovarian Cyst Treatment

Ovarian Cyst Removal

Ovarian Cyst Prevention

Ovarian Cyst Diet

Ovarian Cyst FAQ

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