When an ovarian cyst occurs, you may need to have an ovarian cyst removal procedure performed to prevent complications. Your gynecologist can help determine if removal or observation is right for your condition.
Fluid or tissue filled cysts can develop on or around your ovaries, especially during ovulation. As the cysts grow, the weight of the sacs can cause pain or discomfort in the abdomen. Beyond the immediate symptoms, ovarian cysts often require medical monitoring or surgical intervention due to the risk of cancer cells developing and spreading through the cystic material. Even though most ovarian cysts are benign, your gynecologist may need to perform an ovarian cyst removal procedure to reduce the risk of health complications.
Observation Versus Removal
The decision between surgical removal and physician observation of your ovarian cysts will be made depending on several factors, including the location and size of the cyst and the severity of your symptoms.
Cysts situated on the upper portion of your ovary have a higher chance of rotating and twisting your ovarian tissue, resulting in a medical emergency called ovarian torsion. The risk of ovarian torsion occurring increases as cysts grow larger than ten centimeters. If you have cysts on both ovaries or experience symptoms closely linked with ovarian cancer, your gynecologist may opt to immediately perform an ovarian cyst removal surgery, regardless of size or location.
Physicians regularly opt to perform ongoing medical observation for small, similarly sized ovarian cysts without symptoms indicative of cancer or other complications. Common symptoms of ovarian cysts include pelvic pain, nausea, vomiting, fullness in your abdomen, and pressure on your bladder that causes you to urinate more frequently. Alert your gynecologist to any changes in symptom type, frequency, or severity so appropriate adjustments can be made to your treatment plan.
Even if you promptly report all symptom changes, ovarian cyst complications can occur without warning. You may notice a swift increase in pain or discomfort, which often indicates the development of ovarian torsion or cyst rupture. Although many ovarian cysts resolve without medical intervention, your physician will discuss an emergency treatment plan with you and remain diligent in watching for the signs of developing complications.
Cyst Removal Procedures
In most cases, an ovarian cyst removal immediately eliminates the risk of complications related to material growth, cancer cell infiltration, and rupture. The two main ovarian cyst removal procedures are:
- Laparoscopy: Physicians use laparoscopic surgical tools and techniques to remove uncomplicated ovarian cysts in a minimally invasive manner. Due to the small incision and quick process, most people recover from this surgery relatively quickly.
- Laparotomy – Physicians perform the laparotomy when more room for maneuvering the tools and the cystic material is required. Depending on the involved structures, recovery from this surgery can take a week or two longer than laparoscopic procedures.
As with all surgical procedures, an ovarian cyst removal poses the risk of pain, scar tissue development, infection, and damage to nearby organs, such as the bladder or bowels. Surgical risks also depend on the amount and type of anesthesia used for the procedure. Your anesthesiologist will go over these risks in detail before any ovarian cyst removal procedures are performed.
Finding Ovarian Cyst Care
If you notice any of the main symptoms of an ovarian cyst you should be evaluated by your OB/GYN. A gynecologist skilled in ovarian cyst identification, observation, and removal, will be able to diagnose ovarian cysts and confirm the initial findings with an ultrasound procedure.
To prevent additional complications, schedule an appointment as soon as you notice the signs of a developing ovarian cyst, even if you have had several resolve on their own without additional complications before. Changes in the size, location, or composition of the cysts can alter the course of your recovery.
If you suspect you have an ovarian cyst, contact The Woman’s Clinic in Little Rock at 501-664-4131 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced gynecologists.
*Image by Nephron CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons