How Long Does It Take to Recover From Ovarian Cyst Removal?

Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2020

Cyst removal is major surgery.
Cyst removal is major surgery.

Cyst removal is major surgery. Hence, it is important to make sure you take enough rest and give your body time for recuperation.

Time taken to recover from the surgery is different for everyone. It takes around 12 weeks for the body to complete the healing process.

If you have been given general anesthesia, then you may feel dizzy, nauseous, and sleepy for the first 12 hours. You will experience some pain in your tummy after the surgery, which should improve within a few days with some painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

You will be informed to start mobility like a short walk (10-15 minutes) gradually within the first few days.

  • After a laparotomy, you may be required to stay in the hospital for two to four days because the incision is large, and you can resume your usual activities or work within four to six weeks.
  • If it is laparoscopic ovarian cyst removal, recovery will be early with a short hospital stay, fewer after-effects of general anesthesia, small scars (keyhole scars), less bleeding, fewer stitches, and dressing required. You may have less pain and discomfort compared with those in a laparotomy, and you can start eating and drinking early. After laparoscopic surgery, you can resume normal activities within a day. However, you must avoid any strenuous activity, heavy weight-lifting, or exercise for about four to six weeks.
  • It may take a long time to recover if you have
    • Chronic illness such as diabetes.
    • Habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol drinking.
    • Excessive weight at the time of your surgery.

You can resume normal activities after a maximum of 12 weeks whether you have undergone a laparoscopy or laparotomy. Your gynecologist will consult you about your recovery and when you can get back to work, depending on your situation.

What is an ovarian cyst removal surgery?

In ovarian cyst removal, fluid or gelatinous sacs (cysts) from your ovaries are removed. It can be performed by either

  • Laparotomy (open surgery): An open surgery requires a cut on the belly large enough that the surgeon can check the cyst and surrounding organs and access the ovary. Particularly, if you have large, multiple, or cancerous cysts, this will be recommended.
  • Laparoscopy (key-hole surgery): Two to three small keyholes are made on your belly, and a laparoscope (flexible tube with a camera) is inserted into it. It is more beneficial in terms of recovery and clinical outcome than a laparotomy.

How can I fasten my recovery?

To fasten recovery, you should:
  • Eat fresh, nutritious, healthy meals that include high-fibrous items such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Every day drink up to 2 L of fluids, mainly water.
  • Keep your wound clean and healthy by changing dressings periodically.
  • Quit smoking to lessen the risk of wound infection and chest problems.
  • Avoid drinking excessive alcohol.
  • Regular exercise and physical activity will build up the strength of your muscles soon. Start with a 10- to 15-minute walk in the morning and afternoon and gradually increase it.
  • Establish a daily routine. Wash or bathe and get dressed every day.
  • Keep a positive outlook and attitude about your disease and healing.
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights or pushing or pulling any heavy objects for a few weeks.
  • Avoid immediate long journeys over four hours because it may increase the chances of blood clotting in your legs.
  • Follow the instructions given by your surgeon.

When should I return to work?

When to return to work:
  • You can return to work within a maximum of four to six weeks after your laparoscopic ovarian cyst removal.
  • If you feel well, then you can go for lighter work or reduce hours of work.
  • If you require standing all day or heavy manual work, you may need longer than others or request to do it in a sitting position.
  • Avoid heavy weight-lifting at work. Practice lifting the object correctly by having your feet slightly apart, bending your knees, and keeping your back straight.
  • You may feel more tired if you have physically demanding work.
  • Take permission from your surgeon or gynecologist before you get back to work or obtain a certificate from the hospital if you advised rest for longer than one week.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2020
References
NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ovarian-cyst/treatment/

University of Michigan https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw178611

Royal college of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/recovering-well/laparoscopy-for-print.pdf

Winchester hospital https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=14849