Oophorectomy: Removing the Ovaries with Minimally Invasive Surgery
The ovaries are two small, almond-shaped organs located on either side of the uterus. They are key components of a woman's reproductive system as they store and nurture eggs as well as produce estrogen and progesterone. Oophorectomy, surgical removal of one or both ovaries, is used to treat women for:
Should I have ovarian removal surgery?
Oophorectomy significantly reduces the risk for ovarian cancer. When it is used to specifically prevent ovarian cancer in high-risk women, the procedure is approximately 95% protective against ovarian cancer and is recommended for women at high risk for ovarian cancer.
- Bilateral oophorectomy is the removal of both ovaries.
- Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is the removal of both fallopian tubes plus both ovaries.
Premenopausal women should be aware that oophorectomy causes immediate menopause, which poses a risk for several health problems, including osteoporosis and heart disease. Estrogen replacement, given for a period of time, can help offset these problems but may cause problems of its own. Women who have a bilateral oophorectomy and do not receive hormone replacement therapy may experience more severe hot flashes than women who naturally enter menopause. Oophorectomy can also be performed or combined with hysterectomy.
Understanding your oophorectomy surgery
Before deciding to have surgery, ask your doctor or nurse what to expect after the procedure. Many women notice changes in their body and in how they feel about themselves. Talk with your doctor, nurse, family and friends about these possible changes before you have surgery.
- Typically there is a short hospital stay associated with a robotic-assisted, minimally invasive oophorectomy.
- Recovery can take up to a few weeks.
- Even after oophorectomy, women in high-risk groups for ovarian cancer still have a risk for the development of cancer in the peritoneum (the thin membrane that lines the inside of the abdomen).