An ovarian cyst is a very common condition for a woman to have. Women who are not using hormones for birth control (pills, patches, ring or IUD) make a small cyst almost every month. Most ovarian cysts disappear on their own in just a few weeks. Some ovarian cysts need to be removed. A cyst that is large (more than 3 inches across), a cyst that appears solid (an endometrioma or dermoid cyst), a cyst that is possibly cancerous, or a cyst that persistently causes pain may need to be removed. Ideally, a cyst can be removed without removing the ovary. This is called an ovarian cystectomy. Many times, this can be done using a laparoscope, a thin scope that is placed into the abdomen near the belly button. If the cystectomy is done laparoscopically, recovery is fairly quick, just a few days. Sometimes, a larger incision is made in the lower abdomen to remove the cyst. Recovery from this type of surgery is generally two to six weeks.
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are having an ovarian cyst removed, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include infection, bleeding, cyst returns after it is removed, the need for removal of one or both ovaries, infertility, blood clots, or damage to other organs.
There are also some side effects to be prepared for after a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy, though they are generally mild. For instance, most women feel some tenderness near the incisions for the first few days after surgery, or nausea and bloating. Fatigue, vaginal bleeding, stomach pain, and cramping are also common side effects of this procedure.
Notify your doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
- Increased vaginal bleeding or discharge
- Cough , shortness of breath, chest pain
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given after surgery, or which persist for more than two days after discharge from the hospital
- Headaches, muscle aches, lightheadedness, or general ill feeling
- Constipation or abdominal swelling
- Urinary difficulties
- Onset of pain or swelling in one or both legs
- New, unexplained symptoms