Ovarian cyst surgery is not merited in every situation despite the fact that many women will experience at least one ovarian cyst during their lifetimes. Physicians consider several key indicators before suggesting that a cystectomy may be the best option. Most of these indicators tell the physician that the cyst is not going to go away, or that the cyst is on its way to becoming a malignant tumor. Until the doctor has evidence that ovarian cyst surgery is in the best interest of the patient, he or she will not support the idea at all.
Because cysts can develop, grow for a short time, and then begin to shrink and disappear, physicians often choose to wait at least a couple of menstrual cycles before they begin to think in terms of ovarian cyst surgery.
Even then, there is a good chance that the physician will take steps to determine the nature of the cyst before recommending removal by surgery. However, if the cyst shows a consistent rate of growth after three menstrual cycles, there is a good chance that surgery will be suggested.
Age can also be a factor in the decision to recommend surgery. Women who are post-menopausal but still developing cysts are at a higher risk for ovarian cancer. For this reason, an older woman may find that her doctor recommends surgery, even if the cyst has only been around for a couple of months.
The size of the cyst will also play an important role in determining whether surgical removal is a good idea. While standards vary around the world, many physicians will consider ovarian cyst surgery if the cyst reaches a diameter of five inches. This is because a cyst that reaches this size has a greater chance of becoming malignant, as well as causing significant damage to the ovary.
One final instance where ovarian cyst surgery is often recommended very strongly is when there is evidence that the cyst is malignant. This may come from testing the levels of CA-125 in the blood, or several other signs that your physician may notice. Often, when the possibility of malignancy is very pronounced, the surgery will be scheduled as quickly as possible.
In terms of how the ovarian cyst surgery will be conducted, there are two options. Traditional or open surgery involves cutting into the abdomen. Along with allowing the surgeon to remove the cyst, it also makes it very easy to determine if one or both ovaries have been affected to the point that removing those organs is necessary.
The open approach also allows the surgeon to determine if there is evidence that the malignancy has begun to spread; if that is the case, attempts to remove surrounding tissue that is affected may also take place at the same time.
An alternative is laparoscopic surgery. This approach calls for a small incision to be made, usually just below the navel. A device known as a laparoscope is inserted into the incision. By using the small camera located at the end of the device, it is possible to locate and visually evaluate the status of the cyst. Once the cyst is located, a couple of additional incisions are made, and the cyst is removed. Because this approach is less invasive than open surgery, the recovery time is often much shorter.
While several factors affect the amount of time needed to recover from the removal of an ovarian cyst, most women will require at least a month to be back on their feet. Even with minor complications, there is a good chance you can be able to perform most tasks by six weeks after undergoing either of type of cyst removal surgery. However, your doctor can give you a good idea of what to expect in terms of the duration and general conditions of your recovery, based on your particular situation.