An oophorectomy is a surgical procedure used 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, which removes the uterus; or with a salpingectomy, which removes 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 cysts or tumors
Ovarian torsion (twisting of an ovary)
Reducing the risk of ovarian and breast cancer
Some women have abnormal genes, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2 that give them an increased risk for developing ovarian cancer before the age of 70, many developing the disease around age 45.
This procedure may be performed through a traditional open incision or through laparoscopy with multiple small incisions, depending on each patient’s individual condition. Most patients can return to fully activities within six weeks, sooner after laparoscopic surgery.
Some women who are at a higher risk for developing ovarian cancer or other pelvic disease may actually benefit from not undergoing an oophorectomy, so that they can avoid hormone problems, avoid an increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis and often enjoy a longer survival rate. Oophorectomy also increases a patient’s risk of heart disease and does not completely eliminate the risk of ovarian or breast cancer.