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Recovery From a Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy

by
author image Jason D. Hurt, MD
Jason D. Hurt is a physician and researcher with expertise in women's health, specifically women's cancers. He holds an M.D. from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Recovery From a Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy
A woman in a hospital bed is comforted by her husband. Photo Credit monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

A bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of both the fallopian tubes and ovaries. This procedure may be performed using several different surgical techniques to treat a variety of gynecologic conditions. Your recovery experience depends on the reason your surgery was performed and which type of operation you had. Most cases take between four and six weeks to fully heal.

Types of Surgery

The first thing to consider as you anticipate recovery from a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is why your ovaries and fallopian tubes were removed. Cancerous and noncancerous conditions may require different incision techniques and may produce symptoms that affect your recovery and your long-term health in different ways.

The biggest impact on your immediate postoperative condition, however, is the type of surgery you had and the type of incision, or cuts in your belly, that your doctor employed. For example, you may have had one or more vertical incisions, which are made up and down. These may be used to create a large enough opening to remove an oversized mass on your ovaries or to allow surgical treatment for some forms of cancer.

If you had surgery for bleeding or another benign condition and your ovaries were removed as part of a hysterectomy, your physician may have performed a horizontal incision, which is made from side to side. This is also the incision commonly made in cesarean sections, or C-sections, a type of surgically assisted birth procedure. Horizontal incisions usually do not cause as much pain during recovery as vertical incisions.

If your doctor made a number of small incisions, you had laparoscopic surgery. This procedure uses a tiny camera, or laparoscope, to help the doctor work within the restricted opening to your internal organs. This method can be used to treat a number of conditions, including cancer, and is the easiest type of incision to recover from.

Recovery Considerations

Take it is easy for the first few days after surgery. Restrict your normal activities but don’t prolong bed rest. Moving about is the best thing you can do to help yourself regain strength and fitness. Follow any prescription regimens exactly. Your pain should decrease each day.

Your recovery may be complicated by menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness and weight gain. Hormonal changes may also cause you to lose bone mass, which contributes to osteoporosis, or weakened bones. These effects can persist well after you recover from surgery and significantly impact your life. Discuss these concerns with your gynecologist, who is an expert in anticipating and addressing these problems.

Finally, if cancer prompted your oophorectomy, additional complications may impede your recovery. Be sure to talk with the physician who actually performed your surgery about any concerns you may have. Getting back on your feet after any kind of surgery is tough and, at times, exhausting. Give yourself time to ease back into your normal lifestyle. Patience is the key to recovering your health.

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