An oophorectomy is a surgical procedure to remove one or both of the ovaries as a treatment for pelvic diseases such as ovarian cancer or severe endometriosis. This procedure is often performed with a hysterectomy, the removal of the uterus, or with a salpingectomy, the removal of the fallopian tubes. An oophorectomy can also be performed as a preventive procedure, as a prophylactic oophorectomy.

Women typically undergo this procedure as treatment for:

  • Ovarian cancer
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian cysts or tumors
  • Ovarian torsion, a twisting of an ovary
  • Reducing the risk of ovarian and breast cancer

The procedure may be performed either through a traditional open incision or as a laparoscopy with multiple small incisions, depending on each patient’s individual condition. Most patients can return to regular activities within six weeks, sooner after laparoscopic surgery.

Some women who are at a higher risk for developing ovarian cancer or other pelvic diseases may actually benefit from not undergoing an oophorectomy, avoiding hormone problems, an increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis and enjoying a longer survival rate. An oophorectomy increases a patient’s risk of heart disease and does not completely eliminate the risk of ovarian or breast cancer.

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