What are ovarian cysts?
The ovaries are responsible for producing healthy eggs for fertilization. However, sometimes cysts form within or on the surface of the ovaries. These fluid-filled sacs are called ovarian cysts. While small (2-3 centimeters) simple ovarian cysts will not present harmful symptoms and only need to be managed by observation, there are many other forms of cysts generated under pathological conditions. These cysts either hold a bigger size, produce painful symptoms and can have a detrimental impact on a woman’ s reproductive function.
The operation to remove cysts from the ovaries is called an ovarian cystectomy, and this is usually carried out as ‘keyhole’ surgery (laparoscopy). A cyst may be removed during a biopsy carried out to test whether or not the cyst is cancerous – the removed tissue will be examined in a laboratory after the operation.
Description of the Laparoscopic Ovarian Cystectomy
A small incision will be made just below the navel. Next, a laparoscope will be inserted. The laparoscope will be used to locate the cyst. When it is found, one or two more incisions will be made. Surgical instruments will be inserted to remove the cyst. Tissue may be removed for testing. If cancer is found, both ovaries may need to be removed. After the cyst is removed, the instruments will be removed. The incision area will be closed with stitches or staples.
Description of the Open Ovarian Cystectomy
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.
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 removed . Lastly, stitches will be used to sew the abdominal muscles. The incision area will be closed with stitches or staples.