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by EBSCO Medical Review Board

Definition

Ovarian cyst removal is surgery to remove one or more cysts from one or both ovaries. Open surgery uses a large abdominal incision to view the cyst and surrounding tissue. It may be done instead of a laparoscopic surgery if the cyst is large, there are many cysts, or complications happen during a laparoscopic surgery.

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

Anesthesia

General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep.

Description of the Procedure

An incision will be made in the abdomen. The abdominal muscles will be separated and the abdomen will be opened. Next, the cyst will be removed. A sample of tissue may be removed for testing. If cancer is found, one or both ovaries may be removed . Lastly, stitches will be used to close the abdominal muscles. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples. A bandage will be placed over the area.

How Long Will It Take?

1 to 2 hours

Will It Hurt?

Some pain is common in the first few days. Medicine and home care help.

Average Hospital Stay

Most people can go home in 2 to 3 days. If there are any problems, you may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

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.

RESOURCES

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists  http://www.acog.org 

Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services  http://www.womenshealth.gov 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada  https://www.canada.ca 

Women's Health Matters  http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca 

References

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.

Revision Information