Thumbnail image of: Female Pelvis: Illustration
Thumbnail image of: Laparoscopy: Illustration

Oophorectomy (Removal of Ovaries)

What is an oophorectomy?

Oophorectomy is surgery to remove one ovary or both ovaries. The ovaries are part of the female reproductive system. They make and store eggs and the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. There are many reasons why you might need to have an ovary removed. You may have endometriosis, cysts, or tumors on the ovary, or scar tissue (adhesions) of the ovary. The ovary may be infected or have other problems. Some women have their ovaries removed because they are at high risk for ovarian cancer.

Depending on the reason for the surgery, you may have one ovary removed (unilateral oophorectomy) or both ovaries removed (bilateral oophorectomy). If both ovaries were removed you cannot become pregnant, and menopause will start right away. The fallopian tubes may be removed with the ovaries in a procedure called a salpingo-oophorectomy. If the ovaries are removed with the uterus, the procedure is a total hysterectomy.

How is an oophorectomy done?

Before the procedure:

  • Your healthcare provider will ask you to sign a consent form for an oophorectomy. The consent form will state the reason you are having the procedure, what happens during the procedure, and what you may expect afterward.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicines.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you are taking any medicines, including nonprescription drugs, herbal remedies, or illegal drugs (if any).
  • You will have a needle (IV) inserted into a vein in your hand or arm. This will allow for medicine to be given into your blood system and to give you fluids.

During the procedure:

  • You will be given medicine called anesthesia to keep you from feeling pain. Depending on the type of surgery your surgeon recommends, you may have either regional or general anesthesia.
  • You may have a small tube (catheter) placed into your bladder through the urethra (the opening from the bladder to the outside of the body) to drain and measure urine from the bladder.
  • Your surgeon will recommend the best surgery for you. The type of surgery you have to remove the ovaries may be one of the following:
    • Laparoscopic oophorectomy: Surgery to remove one or both ovaries through several small cuts on the lower abdomen
    • Abdominal oophorectomy: Surgery to remove one or both ovaries through a large cut (incision) on the lower abdomen.
  • Your provider will then close the cut or cuts with stitches or staples.
  • Temporary drains may be left in the cut so blood and fluid can drain.

After the procedure:

  • You will be checked often by nursing staff.
  • Your blood oxygen level will be monitored by a sensor that is attached to your finger or earlobe.
  • Your heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature will be checked regularly.
  • Your provider may prescribe medicines to:
    • Treat pain
    • Treat or prevent an infection
    • Treat or prevent side effects, such as nausea or constipation, from other treatments
    • Soften stool and reduce straining with a bowel movement
    • Relieve symptoms of menopause when your ovaries are removed

What can I do to help?

  • You will need to tell your healthcare team if you have new or worsening:
    • Dizziness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Pain or cramping in your belly
    • Diarrhea, constipation, pain with bowel movements, or other intestinal problems
    • Trouble emptying your bladder
    • Heavy vaginal bleeding
    • Vaginal discharge with a bad odor or itching
    • Redness, swelling, pain, warmth, or drainage from your surgical wound
    • Fever, chills, or muscle aches
  • Ask questions about any medicine or treatment or information that you do not understand.

How long will I be in the hospital?

How long you will need to stay in the hospital depends on many factors. The average amount of time to stay in the hospital after an oophorectomy is 3 days.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Acute Care Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-11-07
Last reviewed: 2014-10-10
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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