An oophorectomy is a surgical procedure during which one or both of your ovaries are removed.
Why would you remove your ovaries?
There are several reasons for which you might need an oophorectomy. Below are the most common ones:
- A tubo-ovarian abscess, which is a pus-filled sac involving your fallopian tube and ovary. This is usually the result of an untreated infection. An abscess usually presents with fever and pelvic pain.
- Ovarian cancer: oophorectomy can be either therapeutic to remove the tumor or prophylactic to prevent the development of a cancer if you are known to have a genetic predisposition.
- Ovarian endometriosis or other benign cysts which might cause pelvic pain, period irregularities, ovarian torsion and infertility. Removal of the pathology can help relieve symptoms. For benign conditions like endometriosis and cysts removal of an ovary should be the last resort to treat these pathologies, an ovarian sparing approach should be always attempted.
- Ectopic pregnancy, which is pregnancy that implants in the tube or on the ovary. Ectopic pregnancies are not viable and if the sac and embryo get too big for medical treatment, you might need to have them removed surgically.
Oophorectomy can be unilateral if fertility is still desired or bilateral if fertility is no longer desired or if medically indicated. The removal of the ovary is sometimes accompanied by the removal of the fallopian tube as well depending on the extent of pathology and this procedure is termed salpingo-oophorectomy.
Your gynecologist will offer you the type of surgery that best treats your condition while keeping in mind your desire for future fertility.
Oophorectomy, like other surgeries, can be done via laparoscopy or using the robot and remain minimally invasive as opposed to an open approach that leaves the patient with a big scar and higher rates of complications.
A minimally invasive approach will allow you to leave the hospital within a day from the operation. Laparoscopy and robot-assisted surgery also speeds up the recovery process and gets you back to normal activity within 2 weeks.
At CEAPS, we always opt for minimally invasive approaches to provide the best experience for our patients with the least amount of side effects and complications. Ovarian sparing surgery is always the first line therapy for benign ovarian pathology.
Dr. Moawad is a highly reputable leading expert in this domain.
What to expect after an oophorectomy?
If you have gotten a bilateral oophorectomy, you may experience symptoms of menopause such as:
- Hot flashes
- Vaginal dryness
- Decreased sex drive
Your doctor might start you on hormonal or non-hormonal medications to accustom your body to these changes and decrease the unpleasant symptoms that you might experience.
In case you have to remove both of your ovaries for medical reasons and you still wish you can have future pregnancies, discuss the option of egg freezing with your doctor.