Laparoscopic oophorectomy

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Laparoscopic oophorectomy an operation to remove both the ovaries. This is sometimes recommended for pre-menopausal women (ie. you haven't had your menopause yet) with breast cancer  who are oestrogen receptor positive (ER+ve). It can also be recommended for women with a high risk of cancer of the ovary after breast cancer such as those carrying the gene BRCA1 or BRCA2. Of course oophorectomy is used if the individual has cancer of the ovaries.

How can you prepare for laparoscopic oophorectomy

Plan for your care and recovery after the operation. Allow for time to rest. Try to find other people to help you with your day-to-day duties.

Follow your health care provider's instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers heal more slowly after surgery. They are also more likely to have breathing problems during surgery. For this reason, if you are a smoker, you should quit at least 2 weeks before the procedure. It is best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery. Also, your wounds will heal much better if you do not smoke after the surgery.

Follow any other instructions your health care provider gives you. If you are to have general anesthesia, eat a light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before the procedure. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight and the morning before the procedure. Do not even drink coffee, tea, or water.

The operation

Procedures vary from hospital to hospital. But you'll probably go into hospital the day before your operation, especially if you are having surgery in the morning. You won't have anything to eat or drink before your operation. Before you go to theatre, you'll be asked to empty your bladder and bowels. A doctor or nurse will check your temperature, blood pressure and heartbeat, and you may be given a drug to help you relax.

When you get to theatre, you'll have a general anaesthetic, so you'll be asleep during your operation and won't know anything about it. Three small cuts in the abdominal wall are made and gas is introduced into the abdominal cavity. The surgery looks the  laparoscope, identifies the ovaries then removes them. The procedure normally takes about 20 minutes.

When you wake up, you may:


Be sure to tell your doctor or nurse. They can give you anti-sickness drugs and/or painkillers. Everyone feels pain differently; some people need more painkilling drugs than others. There's no need to be in pain. Taking painkillers regularly, before the pain comes back, will help you recover more quickly.

You can start eating and drinking as soon as you recover from the anaesthetic.

After your operation you will probably have a drip in your arm to give you fluids so that you don't get dehydrated. You may have one or two tubes coming out of your abdomen. These will drain stale blood and excess fluid out of your wound.

Your recovery

Remember  it will take you time to feel fully fit again. Losing your ovaries will probably make you feel emotional too, perhaps a bit tearful. As you are no longer making oestrogen, you may get some menopausal symptoms, such as hot flushes, vaginal dryness and mood swings. Your doctor or cancer nurse may be able to recommend things that can help you.

Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. Cancernet.co.uk has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.


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