What is a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy?
A laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy is a minimally invasive surgery to remove cysts that can form inside the ovaries. This surgical procedure is performed by one of our highly experienced surgeons skilled in OB/GYN laparoscopic techniques. It is performed under general anesthesia via two or three tiny 5mm incisions in the abdomen and one at the belly button, which one or more ovarian cysts are removed from.
What is an ovarian cyst?
Ovarian cysts are basically fluid-filled sacs that form within the ovary. They are fairly common among women of all ages and are usually benign.
While most cysts resolve on their own, some ovarian cysts can become symptomatic and cause bleeding, pelvic pain, difficulty with conceiving, and, in certain cases, can even become cancerous.
Non-cancerous cysts can be removed surgically while leaving the ovaries intact so that you can still conceive a child. But if a cyst is cancerous, then both ovaries must come out because, once a malignant cyst has been surgically removed, there is still a chance that cancer might grow back either on the operated ovary or on the other one.
When should an ovarian cyst be removed?
There are a number of reasons that might make you a candidate for an ovarian cystectomy (cyst removal). If you have:
- A cyst or mass in both ovaries
- A cyst that hasn’t shrunk or disappeared within 3 months
- A cyst that’s greater than 3 inches in diameter
- A cyst that appears abnormal
- A cyst that your doctor suspects may be malignant
If you fall into one of the following groups and are diagnosed with an ovarian cyst, you might be a candidate for an ovarian cystectomy:
- women taking birth control pills
- post-menopausal women
- young females who have not yet begun to menstruate
Preparing for a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy
In order to better understand the characteristics of your ovarian cyst, we might order some diagnostic tests before your procedure to determine the shape and size of the cyst or cysts, whether they’re fluid-filled (known as simple cysts) or solid or a mix of both fluid-filled and solid (known as complex cysts).
Identifying these characteristics is important because it can help determine if a cyst is benign (non-cancerous) and warrants observation and close follow-up (as is the case with most simple cysts) or if further testing is necessary to determine if a cyst is malignant and requires removal of the ovary.
Diagnostic tests can include:
Ultrasound: this is a painless non-invasive test that involves passing a wand over your abdomen that has been coated with a gel to facilitate gliding. By tracking sound waves, we can determine the shape (regular or irregular), size, and composition (solid, fluid-filled, or both) of the ovarian masses to help guide our treatment plan.
MRI/CT Scan: These are two kinds of imaging studies that provide a more in-depth view of the pelvic cavity using either magnetic fields or radiation.
Blood tests: we may order pre-op bloodwork that can include a pregnancy test (if there’s any possibility that you might be pregnant), checking your hormone levels (they may play a role in tumor growth) and measuring your CA-125 protein levels (which can be high in the presence of ovarian cancer).
What happens during a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy?
At the Outpatient Hysterectomy Center, laparoscopic ovarian cystectomies are performed under general anesthesia.
Your surgeon makes two or three tiny 5mm incisions in your abdomen (one near each hip bone and possibly a third incision just below your navel) through which slim surgical instruments are introduced to perform the laparoscopic surgery.
First, a thin flexible tube with a lighted camera at the tip is inserted in your belly button incision to guide your surgeon throughout the surgery. Other specialized tools are then introduced through the other small incisions (called portals) and these tools are used to trim and remove any unwanted tissue.
Once the ovarian cyst or cysts are removed, the instruments are withdrawn, each portal is closed with a single absorbable stitch and then covered with a bandage. After it heals completely, in about six months, you will probably not be able to even see that you ever had surgery!
What happens after a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy?
After our outpatient ovarian Cystectomies, patients always go home the same day. This is very different than patients who have a traditional procedure as they will require a two or three-day hospital stay. Though an overnight stay is required for many laparoscopic surgeries that is never the case with us.
In the days following our procedure, you’ll transition from resting to light exercising, being careful to avoid any strenuous activities, and lifting. Nearly all of our patients are 100% back to their normal routine within a couple of weeks after surgery.
We will see you for your first post-op follow up one week after your procedure to check your progress. At that time, we will discuss when you can go back fully to your and resuming sexual intercourse.
What are the advantages of having laparoscopic surgery?
Our laparoscopic surgery offers many advantages over a traditional open abdominal surgery that uses a large bikini line incision.
These advantages of a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy over open surgery are many, including:
- Requiring just three tiny incisions that when healing, are either barely visible or simply undetectable.
- Having a shorter surgery with less anesthesia exposure (because working through tiny incisions means less time is spent getting in and out of your pelvic region)
- Decreased blood loss (due to much smaller incisions and less manipulation of your pelvic organs)
- Less pain after surgery (due to smaller incisions that leave the abdominal muscles mostly intact)
- Giving your surgeon a better view within your pelvic area as compared to with a single abdominal incision (because the laparoscope can be positioned in several different locations within your pelvis, offering a 360-degree view of some structures)
- A quicker recovery time (most patients are up and about the day after surgery and usually back to their regular routine within two weeks)
When it comes to gynecological surgery, there is no substitute for experience
Dr. Thais Aliabadi and Dr. Ramon Yera are recognized experts with an international reputation in minimally invasive OB/GYN surgery, having performed thousands of laparoscopic procedures over twenty years.
The recipients of dozens of awards for medical excellence and patient satisfaction, Drs. Aliabadi and Yera have joined forces to create the Outpatient Hysterectomy Center, a world-class surgical practice dedicated exclusively to women’s health.
Doctors Aliabadi and Yera specialize in leading-edge minimally invasive surgeries that offer patients shorter recovery times, less pain, and the least interruption to their daily lives.
If you are considering gynecologic surgery, you owe it to yourself to learn about the minimally invasive surgical treatment options available today.
Schedule a consultation today to have a candid conversation with us about your particular condition in a discreet and non-intimidating setting, where they can address all of your questions and explore what surgical procedure might be most suitable for you.
Please request a consultation online or call us at 844-541-7900.