Ovarian Cyst Removal—Open SurgeryEn Español (Spanish Version)
Ovarian cyst removal
is surgery to remove a
or cysts from one or both of your ovaries.
An open surgery requires an incision large enough that the doctor can see the cyst and surrounding tissue. It may be done instead of a
if the cyst is large, there are many cysts, or complications develop during a laparoscopic surgery.
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An ovarian cyst may need to be removed if it is:
Suspected of being
(the chances are lower if you are young)
- Large—more than 2.5 inches (6.35 centimeters) in diameter
- Solid (rather than containing just fluid)
- Causing pain
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have an ovarian cyst removed, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Cyst returns after it is removed
- Need for removal of one or both ovaries
- Blood clots
- Damage to other organs
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.
Your doctor may do the following:
- Physical exam
- Review of medications
- Blood tests
- Urine test
- CT scan
—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of organs
—a test that uses sound waves to examine the abdomen
(ECG, EKG)—a test that records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle
Talk to your doctor about what action should be taken if cancer is found during surgery. One option is to remove the ovary.
Leading up to the surgery:
- Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
- Arrange for a ride to and from the hospital. Also, arrange for someone to help you at home.
- Do not eat or drink for at least eight hours before the surgery.
will be used. It will block pain and keep you asleep through the surgery. It will be given through an IV in your hand or arm.
An incision will be made in the abdomen. The abdominal muscles will be separated and the abdomen will be opened. The blood vessels that supply the ovary will be located, clamped, and tied. (Note: This step is not always needed.)
Next, the cyst will be removed. In some cases, a sample of tissue will be removed for testing. If cancer is found, one or both ovaries (if cysts are on both ovaries) may be
. Lastly, stitches will be used to sew the abdominal muscles. The incision area will be closed with stitches or staples.
After the procedure, you will be given IV fluids and medications while recovering.
You will have abdominal pain and discomfort for 7-10 days. You will be given pain medication.
Recovery may take 3-4 weeks. When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
- Avoid strenuous exercise for 2-6 weeks.
- Do not resume sexual activity until your doctor says it is okay. You may need to wait two weeks.
- Follow your doctor's guidelines for ultrasound tests. These may need to be done if it is likely that the cysts will return.
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occur:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
- Unexpected amount of vaginal bleeding or discharge
, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
- Headaches, muscle aches, lightheadedness, or general ill feeling
or abdominal swelling
- Urinary difficulties
- Onset of pain or swelling in one or both legs
- New, unexplained symptoms
If you think you are having an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Women's Health.gov—US Department of Health and Human Services
Ovarian cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 17, 2014. Accessed October 29, 2014.
Last Reviewed December 2014