While a cyst on an ovary is a common occurrence, requiring surgery to remove an ovary is a relatively uncommon occurrence.
In general, only 7% of persistent cysts in women under the age of 50 are cancerous. After age 50, up to 30% of cysts are cancerous. Size and other characteristics help determine the likelihood of a problem.
We will start with determining the size and type of cyst you have, utilizing sophisticated ultrasound technology including Doppler blood flow and 3-D technology when appropriate.
Some cysts are so unlikely to be cancerous that it is safe to monitor them closely without surgery. If you are still menstruating regularly and the cyst is small, fluid-filled, and discovered just prior to a period, it is likely that it will go away without any special treatment. While your personal history, symptoms, and examination, along with ultrasound images, can give a lot of information, sometimes the only way to know for sure if a cyst is benign is to remove it surgically.
In general, an ovary can almost always be saved if the cyst is benign and not too large. In young women, the ovary can almost always be preserved.
If you are peri-menopausal or menopausal, it usually makes more sense to remove the entire ovary, particularly if there is a concern that the cyst might be cancerous. Even large ovarian cysts or ovaries can be removed laparoscopically, avoiding the recovery associated with major surgery. Once the cyst is separated from the ovary, or the ovary is separated from surrounding structures, it is placed in a plastic bag that has been inserted into the body through one of the tiny incisions used for laparoscopic surgery. After the cyst is placed in the bag, the fluid is removed, causing the cyst to collapse in the bag so that it is then small enough to fit through a tiny incision.
Many women are at an increased risk for ovarian cancer, due to a family history of ovarian cancer or the presence of a gene mutation associated with ovarian cancer (BRCA gene mutations), and choose to have prophylactic removal of their ovaries. This can also be performed laparoscopically as an outpatient procedure with or without the removal of the uterus. Please make an appointment for consultation if this is the case.
Most cyst removals and ovary removals are performed as an outpatient procedure with a return to normal activities within days.
Use this pull-down menu to select from any of the surgical procedures that we offer.