Ovariotomy: Indications, Procedure, Risks, Complications

Ovariotomy is the surgical removal of one or both the ovaries and is performed when such necessary conditions arise. Let us look at what ovariotomy is, its indications, procedure, risks and complications of ovariotomy.

What is Ovariotomy?

What is Ovariotomy?

The surgical removal of one or both the ovaries is called ovariotomy. It is also called partial oophorectomy which involves ovarian cyst removal or resection of parts of ovaries. The removal of ovaries along with the fallopian tubes is called salphingo-oophorectomy. If one fallopian tube is removed it is called unilateral salphingo-oophorectomy and if both the fallopian tubes are removed it is called bilateral salphingo-oophorectomy. It is sometimes combined with total abdominal hysterectomy.

The partial oophorectomy is fertility preserving surgery. The chances of bearing children are to be considered before opting for this surgery. The ovariotomy surgery has benefits more than risks in most of the cases; but the patient condition has to be considered before opting for this surgery.

Indications for Ovariotomy

Here are some of the commonest indications for ovariotomy,

  • Developed diseases that can affect the ovaries
  • Prophylactic surgery to reduce ovarian cancer / breast cancer.
  • Removal of cysts.
  • Malignancy of ovaries.
  • Tubo –ovarian abscess
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Non-cancerous ovarian tumors
  • Ovarian torsion

The cysts in ovaries may cause bloating, bleeding and abdominal pain. The removal of cysts helps in reducing all the above symptoms. In case of malignancy this surgery helps in reducing the spread of cancer thus decreasing the mortality.

In some patients with family history of breast and ovarian cancer, this surgery acts as preventive measure, which is one of the important indications of ovariotomy. Bilateral ovaries are to be removed in this case. In case of endometriosis, removal of ovaries helps in pain reduction and less spread of existing endometriosis.

How is Ovariotomy Procedure Done?

Here are the pre-procedure instructions for ovariotomy

  • Fasting a day prior to surgery
  • Stop taking medicines that increase chances of bleeding (if any)
  • Undergo blood tests, ultrasound and Computerized Tomography (CT) for better evaluation.

Procedure of ovariotomy

The surgical procedure of ovariotomy can be performed in two ways

  1. Laparotomy – The incision made on the abdomen to access the ovaries. Then the blood supply and the tissues surrounding the ovaries are detached from the ovary.
  2. Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery – 3-4 small incisions made on the abdomen and laparoscope inserted in one of them and the other incisions allow the instruments for resection of ovaries. The ovaries are placed in a pouch and then removed through one of the incisions.

Post-operative care for ovariotomy include the following

  • Antibiotics are given to prevent post-surgical infection
  • If both ovaries are removed, then hormone replacement therapy is advised.
  • Normal activities can be resumed in 2-6 days, post-surgery
  • Counseling for emotional distress may be needed.

Impact on Fertility

The absence of both ovaries can have an impact on fertility due to the absence of both eggs. Women can consider assisted reproduction techniques namely ovum donation or in vitro fertilization and seek medical advice for the same. It also affects the sexuality of the individual and some patients experience loss of libido.

Complications of Ovariotomy

Like any surgical procedure, this too can have some risk of complications. Some of the possible complications or ovariotomy include

  • Injury to internal organs
  • Infection of internal organs
  • Bleeding
  • Rupture of tumor
  • Retention of ovary cells
  • Inability to get pregnant
  • Premature menopause

Benefits of Ovariotomy

Here are the benefits of ovariotomy

  • Cancer prevention
  • Ovarian/ breast cancer risk reduced
  • Relief of pain

Risks of Ovariotomy

While the benefits of ovariotomy are many, there are certain risks of ovariotomy too. These are as follows

  • Surgical menopause – The woman suddenly loses the ability to produce the hormones estrogen and progesterone.
  • High risk for cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory problems
  • Premature death

In most cases, the benefits of ovariotomy outweigh the risks and the surgery is performed when the indications demands so. It is important to follow medical advice and instructions so as to ensure complete recovery.

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