Oophorectomy is surgery to remove the ovaries. Oophorectomy may be unilateral (one ovary removed) or bilateral (both ovaries removed). During this process, the surgeon may also remove one or both fallopian tubes, a procedure known as a salpingectomy.
Whether or not you have your ovaries removed depends on a few factors, such as the type of ovarian cancer. Most epithelial cell tumors and germ cell tumors are treated by removing both ovaries, but stromal cell tumors are often treated by removing only one ovary. Another factor is the tumor stage. Stage 1, or occasionally stage 2, ovarian cancer might also be treated by removing only one ovary or fallopian tube, but stage 3 or 4 cancer usually necessitates removing both.
Impact on Fertility
Removing both ovaries or fallopian tubes will leave you unable to give birth. If you want children in the future and cancer is only found in one ovary, doctors may be able to leave the other ovary in place so you can still get pregnant. Talk to your health care team about your fertility concerns.
Some people at high risk of ovarian cancer undergo an oophorectomy to prevent cancer from forming. In other cases, oophorectomy is performed to remove diseased tissue.
Any surgery carries risks, including blood clots, blood loss, infection, breathing problems, scarring, reactions to medication, and heart attack or stroke during the surgery. Short-term complications of oophorectomy can include pain in the surgical area, constipation, diarrhea, bladder or vein irritation, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, nightmares, trouble sleeping, headaches, and shoulder pain from gas trapped beneath the diaphragm.
Call your doctor if you notice symptoms of infection, such as fever, bleeding, swelling or increased pain at the incision, or severe abdominal cramping and pain. Notify your doctor if you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, discharge from the wound, abnormal or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, pain or swelling in your calves, painful or frequent urination, or vomiting more than 24 hours after the surgery.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Oopherectomy for Cancer — Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Epithelial Ovarian Cancer — Cleveland Clinic
Surgery for Ovarian Cancer — American Cancer Society
Oophorectomy (Ovary Removal Surgery) — Mayo Clinic