Skip to content

Laparoscopic Ovarian Cystectomy

What is a laparoscopy?

A laparoscopy is a procedure in which your health care provider uses a laparoscope to treat a problem with organs or tissue inside your abdomen. A laparoscope is a thin tube with a light and tiny camera.

When is it used?

This operation may be done to remove a cyst on or in one of your ovaries. The ovaries are the organs that make and store eggs. There may be other options available instead of this procedure. You should discuss these options with your physician prior to electing to have the procedure.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

The cysts can be removed without more extensive abdominal surgery. Abdominal surgery would involve a larger incision, longer hospital stay and recovery time, and greater discomfort and expense. You are also less likely to develop a type of scar tissue called adhesions in the abdomen or pelvis.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

There are some risks when you have general anesthesia. Discuss these risks with your provider. As with any procedure there are risks. Be sure to discuss these risks before electing to have the procedure:

  • Abdominal organs, glands, or blood vessels may be damaged. You may need abdominal surgery to repair them at the time of the laparoscopy.
  • The lining of the abdominal wall may become inflamed.
  • A blood clot may break off, enter the bloodstream, and clog an artery in the lung, pelvis, or legs. Rarely, a clot may break off and clog an artery in the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.
  • You may become unable to get pregnant if both ovaries are damaged.
  • You may have some pain after the procedure.
  • You may have damage to a vein or artery that could cause serious bleeding.
  • You may have damage to part of the intestines or colon, which could result in an infection or track (fistula) between intestine and skin, vagina or other organ and need additional surgery.
  • Removal of one or both ovaries may result in sterility or menopause.
  • You may develop an infection in your incisions, tubes or pelvis.

How do I prepare for a laparoscopy?

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 surgery. 

Follow any other instructions your 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 after midnight.  Do not even drink coffee, tea, or water.

What happens after the procedure?

You may stay in the hospital several hours or overnight to recover. The anesthetic may cause sleepiness or grogginess for a while. You may have some shoulder pain, feel bloated, or have a change in bowel habits for a few days. You may not be able to urinate right away and may have a catheter (a small tube) placed into your bladder through the urethra (the tube from the bladder to the outside).


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

You should avoid heavy activity such as lifting. Ask your health care provider how much you can lift, what other steps you should take, and when you should come back for a checkup.

When should I call Greenville OB/GYN?

Call our emergency number at any time if:

  • You develop a fever over 100 F (37.8 C).
  • You have redness, swelling, pain, or drainage from the incisions.
  • You become dizzy and faint.
  • You have chest pain.
  • You have nausea and vomiting.
  • You become short of breath.
  • You have abdominal pain or swelling that gets worse.

Call during regular office hours if:

  • You have questions about the procedure or its results.
  • You want to make another appointment.