Tiny, fluid-filled sacs known as cysts can develop on or inside the ovaries. Usually, when a cyst develops, it is asymptomatic and goes away on its own in approximately two months. However, sometimes an ovarian cyst can cause extreme pain or be a possible indicator that there are other more serious health problems occurring. When this happens, it is typically recommended to have the ovarian cyst surgically removed.
5 reasons why an ovarian cyst may need to be surgically removed
Doctors may recommend having an ovarian cyst removed if one of the following five situations occurs:
- Extreme pain occurs in the lower abdominal area
- Cyst is unusually large — normal, functional cysts are usually less than 2.5 inches in diameter, and anything larger is considered abnormally large
- Cyst is solid and not filled with fluid
- Cyst is suspected to be linked to ovarian cancer
- Growth of an ovarian cyst is considered unusual — for example, young girls who have not started their period and postmenopausal women, who should not be developing functional ovarian cysts
The watch and wait approach
Depending upon the situation, your doctor may take a “watch and wait” approach to your ovarian cysts. With this approach, your doctor will order regular testing, usually an ultrasound, to monitor the size, shape, and appearance of the ovarian cyst. If the cyst gets small, surgery may not be recommended. However, if the cyst gets larger or remains the same, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the cyst.
What type of surgery is used to remove ovarian cysts
Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery is most commonly used to remove ovarian cysts. During this surgical procedure, your doctor will insert a small, thin tube through an incision that was created on or near the navel. On the end of the thin tube is a tiny camera that is used by your doctor to take photos of the cyst and ovaries. Also, on the end of the tiny tube are small surgical tools that will be used to remove your ovarian cyst.
Doctors often recommend minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for ovarian cyst removal because post-surgical recovery time is faster than other surgical options. Additionally, the surgery is low-risk, and there is often little or no scarring that occurs as a result of the incisions made for the procedure. Laparoscopic surgery is also preferred because it allows your doctor to remove the cyst while preserving your ovaries.
Another surgery, known as laparotomy, may be recommended if your doctor suspects the cyst may be cancerous. This surgery is a bit more invasive than laparoscopic surgery. It involves making a large incision along the lower abdomen. The larger incision along the abdomen gives your doctor a better view of the ovaries and makes it easier to remove potentially cancerous cysts.
If you have a history of ovarian cysts or are experiencing pelvic pain or discomfort that could be caused by ovarian cysts, Dr. Patel of ObGyn Care of Oklahoma is here to help you. Dr. Patel can create a treatment plan that reduces or eliminates any pain or discomfort you are experiencing from ovarian cysts, monitor the growth and appearance of any current ovarian cysts, and perform any minimally invasive surgical procedures that need to be performed.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Patel to discuss whether your ovarian cysts should be removed or to discuss any concerns you may have about ovarian cysts. Appointments with Dr. Patel can be scheduled by calling the office or by using the "book online" feature located at the top of the page.