After the ovarian cyst removal, you may feel pain in your tummy, which should improve in a few days.
After the ovarian cyst removal, you may feel pain in your tummy, which should improve in a few days.

After the ovarian cyst removal, you may feel pain in your tummy, which should improve in a few days. The time for recovery after a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy may be different for everyone.

  • Hospital stay: Because an ovarian cystectomy is major surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight. Your blood pressure, urine output, and motions will be monitored.
  • After-effects of general anesthesia: You may feel sleepy for the first 24 hours. Nowadays, anesthetics are short-lasting. Therefore, you should not have or suffer from any after-effects for more than a day after your surgery. 
  • Scars: You may have one to four small keyhole-size (0.5-1-cm long) scars on your tummy.
  • Stitches and dressing: Your surgeon may close your cuts with stitches or staplers. Glue and dissolvable stitches dissolve by themselves. Other stitches may be removed within five to seven days after surgery. The dressing should be removed about 24 hours after your surgery.
  • Washing and showering: You should start taking bath and shower after the removal of your dressing, mostly 24 hours. Pat the scars dry after a bath with clean disposable tissues or let them dry in the air. Keep the scars clean and dry for faster healing.
  • Bleeding from the vagina: You may experience slight bleeding from the vagina for the first 24-48 hours after the surgery.
  • Pain and discomfort: You may experience some pain and discomfort in your lower tummy for the first few days after surgery. You may have some pain in the shoulder, which is a common side effect of surgery. Your doctor will prescribe you some painkillers such as codeine or dihydrocodeine, which may make you sleepy and sometimes constipated. Therefore, you should have more fibrous food in your meal with extra fruits to reduce constipation.
  • Starting to eat and drink: These days, a short general anesthetic is usually used. Once you are awake, you can start taking sips of drinking water or a cup of tea and something light to eat before going home.
  • Mobility: Your doctor will ask you to be mobile as soon as possible after your surgery to reduce the formation of blood clots. Doing exercise while resting such as pumping each foot up and down briskly for 30 seconds may help to reduce blood clot formation. In case you experience leg pain, swelling, and redness and are diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (clot formation in the veins), your doctor may prescribe
    • Daily heparin injections (a blood thinner).
    • Compression stockings to be worn day and night until your movements improve.
    • Special boots that inflate and deflate to be worn in the hospital.
  • Hormone replacement therapy: If your ovary or ovaries have been removed during your surgery due to complications, your doctor will start hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
  • Tiredness: You may feel much more tired than usual after your surgery because your body is using a lot of energy to heal. Therefore, take a rest for the first few days.
  • Menses: Many women do not get their next period for four to six weeks after surgery. When the period returns, you may notice heavy bleeding and more discomfort than before. Wait two to three periods; if it does not relieve, then you must seek medical advice.
  • Having sex: Do not resume sexual intercourse until your doctor says. Full recovery with internal healing takes about four to six weeks. Wait until your incision is fully healed, which takes three to five days to several weeks. If your both ovaries are removed due to complications, you may feel the vagina is dry, but over-the-counter lubricants may help.
  • Return to work: You must avoid strenuous activity or exercise for about a week. You can expect to return to your office work, three-four weeks after your surgery. However, avoid physically demanding work.

What does a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy mean?

An ovarian cystectomy is a surgery performed to remove sac-like fluid pockets (cyst) from your ovary (a woman’s reproductive organ). These cysts cause problems in menses and infertility. There are various techniques for the procedure such as:

  • Laparotomy: In a laparotomy, your surgeon makes a long cut on your tummy to reach the ovary and remove the cysts.
  • Laparoscopic surgery: It is a keyhole surgery where small cuts are made on your tummy. Gas is blown into the belly to allow the surgeon to access your ovaries. Then a small, tube-shaped microscope with a light at the end is inserted into your tummy through these two to three holes so your surgeon can see your internal organs, remove the cysts, and close the small cuts with dissolvable stitches.

Nowadays, a laparoscopic method is mostly preferred because it is less painful and has a quick recovery, small scar, and a short hospital stay.

What can help me recover faster?

Your body takes time to heal the surgery incision and get fit and well again after a laparoscopy. Recovering after the surgery is a very personal experience. If you follow the advice given by your doctor, you may achieve it faster. Most women feel better within the first week after surgery. You can follow some tips to help you recover faster.

  • Establish a daily routine and keep it up such as early sleeping and rising. Wash and get dressed every day.
  • Eating a nutritious, healthy, high-fiber, and balanced diet including fresh fruits and vegetables will fasten your recovery processes. Drink up to 2 L of fluids, mainly water.
  • Quit smoking to lessen the chances of wound infection and chest problems.
  • Gradual regular exercise will build up the strength of muscles soon. It will also help you lose some excess weight, which may reduce your chances of getting more cysts in the ovary in the future.
  • A positive outlook and attitude toward your disease and healing will fasten the healing process.
  • Do not lift, push, or pull any heavy object for a few weeks.
  • Avoid immediate strenuous long journeys.

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What can slow down my recovery?

Your recovery process may slow down and can take longer to feel good if you

  • Had serious health issues such as diabetes that may increase your risk of infections.
  • Smoke. It may increase your risk of a chest or wound infection during the recovery process. 
  • Drink excessive alcohol that can delay the healing process.
  • Had excessive weight at the time of your surgery. If you are overweight, it may take longer to recover from the effects of anesthesia, and there are higher chances of complications such as infection and thrombosis.
  • Had any complications during your surgery. 
  • Use certain prescription medications such as anti-clotting medicine.

What are the possible complications?

Complications include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Cyst returns
  • Need for removal of one or both ovaries
  • Infertility
  • Blood clots in the legs
  • Blood clot traveling to your lungs 
  • Damage to the bowel and bladder
  • Bands of scar (adhesion) stick tissues or organs together

When to see a doctor?

See your doctor if you have

  • Burning and stinging pain while passing urine or passing urine frequently.
  • No urine in the last 24 hours.
  • Red and painful skin around your laparoscopy scars.
  • Increase in tummy pain with fever, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
  • Painful, red, swollen, and hot leg or difficulty bearing weight on your legs.
  • No improvement in symptoms.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/18/2020
References
Medscape https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1848505-overview

NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ovarian-cyst/treatment/

University of Michigan https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw178611#:~:text=General%20anesthesia%20usually%20is%20used,in%204%20to%206%20weeks.

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/patients/patient-leaflets/laparoscopy/

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