by EBSCO Medical Review Board


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.

Ovarian Cyst
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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
  • Solid

Possible Complications

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
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to other organs
  • Cyst returns after it is removed
  • Need for removal of one or both ovaries
  • Infertility

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prior abdominal surgery

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.

Laparoscopic Ovary Removal
laparoscopic hysterectomy
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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.

Post-procedure Care

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
At Home

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 


Health Canada 

Women's Health Matters 


Ovarian cyst. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: Accessed August 26, 2021.

Ovarian cysts. Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: Accessed August 26, 2021.

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