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Oophorectomy (ovary removal surgery)

An oophorectomy is an operation to remove one or both ovaries

Oophorectomy-ovary-removal-surgery
An oophorectomy is a surgical procedure to remove one or both of your ovaries.

Ovaries are glands that are part of the female reproductive system. They make female sex hormones like oestrogen and progesterone that help regulate your periods and protect against bone and heart disease. Your ovaries also produce and store eggs.

An oophorectomy is normally performed to treat or prevent diseases of the female reproductive system. The procedure may involve removing one or both ovaries as well as other parts of your reproductive system such as your fallopian tubes, uterus (womb), and cervix.

Call 0141 300 5009 or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private oophorectomy treatment with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

This page explains what an oophorectomy is, why you may need one, and what to expect before, during, and after your procedure.

The cost of an oophorectomy (ovary removal surgery) starts from £5,750.*

Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your surgery and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any pre-surgery diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately.

Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We can offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.

*This is a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

An oophorectomy may be performed for a number of reasons including:

  • Endometriosis - where the lining of the womb grows outside the womb
  • Ovarian cancer - cancer that starts in your ovaries or fallopian tubes
  • Ovarian torsion - a medical emergency where the ovary twists, cutting off blood supply and causing severe pain
  • Ovarian cysts - noncancerous growths on the ovary
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - infection of the reproductive system usually caused by an untreated sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Chronic pelvic pain - unexplained pain in the lower abdomen that lasts longer than six months
  • If you have a high risk of getting breast or ovarian cancer or have the BRCA gene mutation that increases your risk of these cancers
  • Ectopic pregnancy - when an embryo develops outside the womb

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant gynaecologist, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the female reproductive system.

Your consultant will ask you about your general health, any other medical conditions, or allergies you have, and any medications you are taking. They will ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical examination.

Before your surgery, your consultant will order some tests or scans to confirm your diagnosis and check that you are fit for surgery. These may include:

Why is this first consultation so important?

At Circle Health Group, your first consultation is where we get to know you, discuss your surgery and expectations for treatment, and encourage you to ask any questions you may have. It is important to us that you are as well-informed and comfortable as possible before, during, and after your surgery, so please ask your consultant any questions you may have.

Depending on the type of surgery you have, you may not be able to get pregnant naturally after your oophorectomy. Some types of oophorectomy can put you into immediate menopause.

If you are planning to have children in the future, discuss this with your consultant before your procedure. Depending on your surgery, there may be options such as freezing your eggs, or in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) to allow you to have children after your oophorectomy. Ask your consultant to refer you to a fertility specialist to discuss your options for having children after your surgery.

Early menopause can increase your risk of certain health conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis (brittle bones), as well as cause unpleasant symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and low sex drive. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help to reduce menopause symptoms and decrease the risk of disease. Talk to your consultant about the risks and benefits of taking HRT after your oophorectomy.

Before your surgery, your consultant will explain the procedure to you and give you any instructions you may need to prepare for your surgery.

 If you have any questions or are not sure about anything, please ask your consultant to clarify. The better prepared you are for your operation, the better your recovery is likely to be. Being well-informed about the procedure will also help put you at ease and reduce any anxiety you may have about your operation.

Before your surgery:

  • Tell your doctor about any medications, including vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter medicines you are taking
  • Your consultant may tell you to stop taking blood thinners like warfarin and aspirin for a few days before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during surgery
  • Being as fit as possible will make your surgery and recovery go more smoothly. Lifestyle changes like losing weight if you need to, eating a healthy balanced diet, stopping smoking, and drinking within healthy limits are recommended for a few weeks before your surgery
  • You will probably not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your surgery. Check with your consultant before your operation
  • After your surgery, you may feel quite tired, and have some pain or discomfort for a few days. Arrange for someone to help with household tasks like cooking and housework after your oophorectomy

What happens during an oophorectomy is different for everyone and depends on the type of surgery you are having and your individual circumstances. Talk to your consultant about what will happen during your surgery.

There are several different types of oophorectomy:

  • Unilateral oophorectomy - one of your ovaries is removed
  • Bilateral oophorectomy - both ovaries are removed
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy - one ovary and one fallopian tube (the tube that transports eggs from your ovaries to your uterus) are removed
  • Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy - both fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed
  • Hysterectomy with salpingo-oophorectomy - your uterus (womb) is removed along with one ovary and one fallopian tube
  • Total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy - Your uterus, cervix (the opening to your uterus), both fallopian tubes, and both ovaries are removed

An oophorectomy is normally performed under general anaesthetic, which means you will be asleep for the procedure.

Depending on the type of surgery you have, the operation normally takes between one and four hours.

Types of oophorectomy surgery

An oophorectomy can be performed in one of three ways:

  • Laparoscopic (keyhole) - in this type of surgery a small camera is inserted into your abdomen through a 1 to 2-cm incision (cut) in your belly button. Your ovaries are removed using tiny surgical instruments inserted through other small incisions, or by a robotic arm guided by your surgeon. Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive, has a lower risk of infection, and allows for faster healing
  • Vaginal - this is usually done at the same time as a hysterectomy (removal of the womb). Your womb and ovaries are removed through your vagina. This type of surgery is also minimally invasive and has a lower risk of complications such as infection. Recovery is faster than with open surgery
  • Laparotomy- a laparotomy is open surgery where your surgeon makes a larger incision in your abdomen. After the incision is made, your surgeon separates your abdominal muscles to locate your ovaries. Your blood vessels are tied to prevent bleeding and the ovaries are removed. The incision is closed using stitches or staples and a sterile dressing is applied

Your consultant will decide which surgical approach is best for you based on your individual case, general health, and preferences.

Recovery from an oophorectomy varies depending on the type of surgery you had, as well as factors like your age and general health.

It's important to follow your consultant's instructions carefully during your recovery period and to go at your own pace. Pushing yourself to do too much before you are ready can lead to complications and delay your recovery. Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated timeline for your recovery after your surgery.

After your surgery:

  • Keep your surgical dressing clean and dry
  • Take any medications such as painkillers and antibiotics as directed by your consultant
  • Avoid strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, and sex until your consultant tells you it's safe
  • Use sanitary pads not tampons
  • Take showers instead of baths
  • Walk around frequently
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Rest and take time off from work, study, or household chores

How many nights will I have to spend in hospital?

If you had a laparoscopic or vaginal procedure you will probably need to spend one or two nights in hospital. If you had open surgery (laparotomy), you will need to stay longer, usually up to three nights.

Can I drive home from the hospital?

After your surgery you will not be able to drive yourself home from hospital, so make arrangements for someone to come and collect you.

When can I go back to work?

When you can go back to work after your oophorectomy depends on several factors including the type of surgery you had, your recovery, and the type of job you do. You can expect to take between four and six weeks off work after your surgery. Talk to your consultant about when you can expect to return to work based on your personal circumstances.

How soon can I drive after surgery?

When you can drive after your operation depends on the type of surgery you had and your recovery. You should not drive until you are no longer taking pain medication and can do an emergency stop comfortably. This is usually between four and six weeks after your surgery. Talk to your consultant about when you can expect to drive after surgery.

When will I be back to normal?

Everyone's recovery from oophorectomy is different and depends on many factors such as your age, general health, the type of procedure you had, and whether there were any complications during your surgery. On average you can expect to be fully recovered between three and six weeks after your surgery.

All surgery carries a small risk of complications. Your consultant will discuss all the possible risks and complications with you and address any concerns or questions you may have, allowing you to make an informed decision.

General risks of surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic
  • Blood clots
  • Shock
  • Chest problems
  • Problems passing urine (urinary retention)

Possible risks and complications of oophorectomy include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic
  • Blood clots
  • Damage to nearby organs like the bowel or bladder
  • Ovarian remnant syndrome - this is a rare condition where microscopic parts of the ovaries remain after surgery
  • Spreading of cancer cells by rupturing a malignant tumour

Call your consultant immediately if you experience:

  • Bleeding or discharge from your incision
  • Swelling or redness at your incision site
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Severe pain
  • Problems passing urine
  • Vaginal discharge that may have a strong smell
  • Vaginal itching

If you have a unilateral oophorectomy (removal of one ovary), and your remaining ovary and fallopian tube work properly, your periods will continue as normal, and you will be able to get pregnant naturally.

If both your ovaries were removed, you will immediately be in menopause after your surgery. Many women take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help with symptoms of menopause after their oophorectomy. Talk to your consultant about HRT before your surgery.

We answer some of your most frequently asked questions about oophorectomy.

How long does it take to recuperate after a laparoscopic oophorectomy?

How long it takes to recuperate after a laparoscopic oophorectomy varies from person to person, but on average recovery takes around one to two weeks. Laparoscopic surgery is less invasive than open surgery and the recovery time is usually a lot faster.

How long does menopause last after an oophorectomy?

Symptoms of menopause start immediately after a bilateral oophorectomy and can last for several months. In natural menopause, your body`s hormone levels decline gradually, a period known as perimenopause that lasts for several years. Menopause as a result of surgery, known as surgical menopause, is immediate and symptoms can be more severe than with natural menopause.

How long after an oophorectomy does menopause start?

If you had both ovaries removed (bilateral oophorectomy) you will be in menopause immediately after your surgery.

When can I start taking HRT after my oophorectomy?

If you choose to take HRT after your oophorectomy, you will probably start taking it right away. Talk to your consultant about starting HRT after your oophorectomy.

Can you get ovarian cancer after an oophorectomy?

Though very rare, it is possible to get ovarian cancer after an oophorectomy. This may be caused by a condition called ovarian remnant syndrome, where microscopic pieces of ovarian tissue are left behind after surgery. This tissue can regrow and may develop into cancer. This may occur years after your oophorectomy.

How long does a hysterectomy and oophorectomy take?

How long a hysterectomy and oophorectomy takes depends on whether you are having laparoscopic, vaginal, or open surgery. On average the operation takes between one and four hours.

Is an oophorectomy major surgery?

An oophorectomy is considered major surgery as it involves a general anaesthetic, a hospital stay, and the removal of one or more organs. Laparoscopic or vaginal surgery is less invasive and has a shorter recovery time than a laparotomy (open abdominal procedure).

Do you have periods after an oophorectomy?

If you still have one functioning ovary and fallopian tube after your surgery, you will continue to have periods as normal. If you had both ovaries removed, you will not have periods after your surgery.

Does an oophorectomy cure polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS is a condition caused by increased levels of hormones called androgens in the blood. These hormones are made in the ovaries. An oophorectomy may decrease the levels of androgens in your blood, but it does not cure PCOS and isn't usually recommended as a treatment for the condition.

Does having an oophorectomy shorten your life?

Having an oophorectomy and entering surgical menopause can have a long-term impact on your health and may even shorten your lifespan. Menopause increases your risk of health conditions like heart disease, heart attack, and osteoporosis. Taking HRT after your oophorectomy can help protect against these conditions. Talk to your consultant about the long-term effects of having an oophorectomy and the risks and benefits of taking HRT after your surgery.

Can you get pregnant after an oophorectomy?

If you still have a functioning ovary, fallopian tube, and uterus (womb) you can still get pregnant naturally after your oophorectomy. If you had both ovaries removed or a hysterectomy (removal of the womb) you will not be able to get pregnant and may need to look at other options like IVF, adoption, or surrogacy if you want to have children.

How long do you bleed for after an oophorectomy?

You may experience some vaginal bleeding for up to six weeks after your surgery. The bleeding may be red, pink, or brown and should get lighter as time goes on. 
Seek medical attention if:

  • You are still bleeding after six weeks
  • Your bleeding is getting heavier
  • You are losing a lot of blood (soaking more than one pad an hour) 
  • The blood is getting darker in colour 
  • You have other symptoms like pain, fever, strong-smelling vaginal discharge, or feeling generally unwell

How soon after an oophorectomy can you have sex?

How soon after your oophorectomy you can have sex depends on the type of surgery you had, and which organs were removed during your operation. Talk to your consultant about when you can have sex after your oophorectomy.

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant best suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about private oophorectomy treatment, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in December 2022. Next review due December 2025.

  1. Oophorectomy,  Cleveland Clinic
  2. Oophorectomy: the debate between ovarian conservation and elective oophorectomy, PubMed
  3. Bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy,  National Cancer Institute
  4. Salpingo-Oophorectomy,  Medscape

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