Ovaries are a part of the female reproductive system that help produce eggs and the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Women dealing with hormonal problems can experience endometriosis, pelvic infections or ovarian cysts.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop within or on the ovary. The most common type of cysts is known as Functional cysts, which are formed during the menstrual cycle and are known as follicle cysts or corpus luteum cysts.
- Other types of cysts include Benign Neoplastic cysts which are rare and further branch out to cystic teratoma or dermoid cysts containing multiple types of tissues.
- Endometriosis cysts, on the other hand, develop when endometrial-like tissue grows outside the uterus and attaches to the ovaries.
- Malignant cysts indicate ovarian cancer. A cyst is suspected to be malignant when cancer-like characteristics are observed during physical examination or in the patient’s medical history.
In such situations, ovarian cyst removal surgery is recommended. In the majority of cases, the cysts are non-cancerous and mostly harmless. But, if one of these cysts ruptures, the symptoms could be serious.
1] What are the symptoms of an ovarian cyst?
Most women who have ovarian cysts don’t notice it unless it causes a problem or affects their day-to-day activities. Ovarian cysts usually disappear after 2-3 menstrual cycles. The majority of ovarian cysts are small and don’t cause any symptoms.
If a cyst does cause symptoms, you may experience pelvic pressure, bloating, swelling, or pain in the lower abdomen. The pain associated with this may be sharp or dull and inconsistent. In the case of a rupture, it may cause sudden and severe pain.
The symptoms of larger cysts include:
- Abdominal swelling or bloating
- Painful bowel movement
- Pelvic pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Pain in the thighs and lower back
2] Procedures For Ovarian Cyst Removal
There are two most common procedures for ovarian cyst removal:
2.1] Laparoscopic Surgery
Laparoscopy surgery for ovarian cysts is a minimally invasive surgery. As a general procedure, laparoscopy is used for both diagnoses as well as treatment of various conditions. It can be used to examine the organs inside the abdomen. A pelvic laparoscopy, however, specifically includes an examination of the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
2.2] Open Surgery
Ovarian cyst removal is a form of surgery to remove one or more cysts from one or both ovaries. Open surgery utilizes a large abdominal incision to view the cyst and surrounding tissue. Open surgery may be recommended in place of laparoscopic surgery if:
- the cyst is large
- there are many cysts
- complications are likely to occur during an ovarian cyst laparoscopic surgery.
3] Why Ovarian Cyst Removal by Laparoscopy is the best option?
The laparoscopic procedure is gaining prominence because of its minimally invasive nature and the fact that fewer complications are associated with it. Faster recovery is also a reason why laparoscopic ovarian cyst removal is an excellent choice, especially if the procedure is related to the pelvic or abdominal region. In comparison to laparoscopy, open surgeries take more time to recover.
Now that you know why laparoscopy is the best option for ovarian cyst removal, let’s take a look at the benefits of laparoscopic surgery.
4] Benefits of a Laparoscopic surgery
- Laparoscopy is a low-risk, minimally invasive procedure that involves only a small incision. The risk of wound infection is limited with laparoscopic surgery.
- Laparoscopic surgery offers surgeons a better visualisation as well as better access to internal organs.
- Laparoscopic surgery is less painful and requires minimal pain medication.
- The surgery has a shorter healing time compared to open surgery. It has less post-operative scarring. Also, because of its quick recovery period, the patient opting for laparoscopic surgery for ovarian cyst removal can return to everyday activities almost immediately.
- Laparoscopic surgery reduces the risk of Thrombosis-embolism, which is a blood clot in the legs or lungs.
5] Overview of Laparoscopic Surgical Treatment
Laparoscopic surgical treatment is a minimally invasive procedure with lesser complications and faster recovery time.
- During the laparoscopic surgical treatment, a small incision is made near the navel area of the patient to insert a laparoscopic tube.
- The laparoscope is a thin tube-like instrument with a camera attached to its front-end. The camera provides a visual of the internal organs along with the targeted site of surgery on the external screen.
- Once the site of surgery is identified, surgeons fill the abdominal area with carbon dioxide gas to improve the sight in that region and make space for surgery.
- Few additional incisions are made to insert the surgical instruments into the body to remove the cyst permanently.
In case the cyst is found to be a cancerous one, the surgeon might recommend the removal of the ovaries. Once the surgical process is concluded, the surgeon closes the incisions either via surgical staples or through stitches.
While the procedure of ovarian cyst removal via laparoscopy procedure is harmless and efficient, it is also important to know of any possible complications and when to contact the doctor post-surgery.
6] Laparoscopy Procedure for Ovarian Cyst Removal
Before the laparoscopic surgery begins, you will be given anaesthesia. A laparoscope, which is a thin tube with a camera on the end, is inserted into the abdomen (generally at the navel) via a small incision. Additional incisions may be made and carbon dioxide gas will be used to create more space between your abdominal wall and internal organs. Next, surgical instruments will be used to remove the cyst.
6.1] What is the laparoscopic cyst removal recovery time?
The time taken to recover from this surgery differs for everyone. Once the ovarian cyst has been removed, you might feel pain in the stomach or abdominal area. However, this should get better in a few days.
Post a laparoscopy procedure, it might take as long as 12 weeks before one can resume heavy-duty activities. Also, based on the results of the cyst, if sent for testing, the doctor will discuss whether or not you require any further treatment.
6.2] What to expect after ovarian cyst surgery?
During the post-surgical period, the patient might feel mild painful contractions but only for a day or two.
6.3] When to contact the doctor after the laparoscopic surgery?
Contact the doctor if you notice the following symptoms post-surgery and during recovery:
- Heavy bleeding
- Swelling or severe pain in the abdomen
- Fever with high temperature
- Smelly or dark vaginal discharge
Laparoscopic procedure for ovarian cyst removal is highly preferred because of the added advantages it has concerning incision size, recovery time, and its minimally invasive nature. The incisions made during this procedure are relatively smaller, allowing speedy recovery from laparoscopic ovarian cyst removal with minimal risk of complications. The pain and risk involved post-procedure are very less and the risk of infection or other surgical complications is nominal as well.