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An ovary or part of it may have to be removed because of a tumour, a cyst or endometrial tissue. Surgery may also be needed to detach adhesions around the ovaries or to remove a fallopian tube blocked with fluid. Surgery on the ovaries and adjacent tissues is performed laparoscopically.

BEFORE THE SURGERY

The skin and mucous membrane in the operation area must be healthy. The patient must not have a urinary tract or vaginal infection at the time of the surgery.

She must not eat or drink for six hours before the surgery.

THE SURGERY

The surgery is always performed under general anaesthesia. A laparoscopic camera is inserted into the abdominal cavity through a small incision made below the navel. Depending on the type of the procedure, there will be 2–3 small incisions on the lower abdomen. The doctor will give a detailed account of the procedure before and after it.

AFTER THE SURGERY

The patient is discharged either on the day of the surgery or on the following morning. If she is discharged on the day of the surgery, she will need someone to take her home from the hospital as well as a support person to assist her at home until the following morning.

The effect of intravenous medication may last for up to 24 hours, during which the patient may feel nauseous, tired and weak. Driving a car and other activities that require a high level of concentration are prohibited for 24 hours after the procedure. There will be pain in the operated area after the surgery, for which the doctor will have prescribed painkillers.

At the beginning, it is worth taking the painkillers regularly as they also reduce swelling in the wound area. Shoulder-tip pain is an unpleasant yet harmless side effect of laparoscopy but this should pass within two days. The patient may have discharge from the vagina for several days, and may feel discomfort for even longer in the operated area and around the wound as well as when she urinate and empties her bowels. There are no restrictions regarding sauna bathing after the surgery.

Depending on the procedure, the patient will need sick leave for 1–2 weeks and must avoid heavy work, vigorous sports and physical exertion during sick leave. Gentle exercise will stimulate circulation in the operated area and speed up recovery.

The stitches used in the surgery are usually dissolvable. If there are stitches that need to be removed, the patient will receive instructions for their removal. There is no need for a follow-up check unless otherwise agreed on. If biopsies are taken during the surgery, the patient will be informed about the result in the agreed manner.

COMPLICATIONS RELATED TO THE SURGERY AND RECOVERY

Most postoperative problems are minor and do not essentially extend the period of treatment or slow down the recovery. The most common postoperative complications include infections of the operated area and bleeding. There is also an increased risk of urinary tract infection. These complications may require a course of medication. More serious complications requiring hospital treatment or new surgery can occur but are extremely rare. Being overweight or having had earlier surgeries may increase the risk of complications. Poor general condition or some other disease may also increase the risk. Smoking slows down the recovery of the wounds and generally increases the risks associated with the surgery.

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