Ovarian cysts are a relatively common and can affect women of all ages. There are several different treatment options for them including waiting it out, taking medication to ease the pain or undergoing surgery. Surgery is usually a last resort used for certain types of cysts or cysts that are extremely large or painful. Let’s take a closer look at the two types of surgery used for the removal of ovarian cysts and what you can expect with each.
The most common types of ovarian cysts , known as functional cysts , are filled with fluid and often will shrink or go away on their own. Unfortunately, other types of cysts (and sometimes even functional cysts ) aren’t so easy to get rid of.
Ovarian cysts that are extremely large, painful, or complex (meaning they are filled with both solid and liquid) may need to be removed with surgery. Although rare, if a cyst is cancerous it will also need to be removed. The likelihood of cancer is believed to increase with age so doctors may recommend surgery for older women.
Before recommending removal of a cyst with surgery, a doctor will perform a variety of tests. The first test is typically an ultrasound which is done to view the cyst and determine the size and if the contents are solid, liquid, or a combination of the two. Your doctor may also perform a CT scan if the cyst is solid to get more detailed information on it. A blood test may also be ordered to test for or rule out cancer, although the test results aren’t always conclusive.
If after all the tests your doctor feels you need surgery, there are two different types of surgery they may perform.
The first, and least invasive option is laparoscopic surgery. With this type of surgery a small incision is made near your belly button and a small instrument is inserted into your abdomen that enables your doctor to remove the cyst .
The second type of surgery, laparotomy, is more invasive and is typically done for larger cysts or for cysts that may look cancerous. This surgery is performed under general anesthesia and a larger incision is made in the stomach to remove the cyst (s). When the cyst has been removed it may be tested for cancer. If the cyst is cancerous it may be necessary to remove one or both ovaries, other surrounding tissue and possibly the uterus as well.
As with any surgical procedure there will be some recovery time afterward. Recovery from laparoscopy is faster than from laparotomy simply because it is a less invasive procedure.