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What is a Laparoscopic Cystectomy?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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A laparoscopic cystectomy is a type of laparoscopic surgery often used to remove cysts from the ovaries. It can also be used to remove cysts from other areas inside the body. Laparoscopy generally involves using a tool known as a laparoscope to insert cameras and surgical tools into the body. As a treatment for ovarian cysts, laparoscopic cystectomy has a number of advantages over the more traditional open cystectomy. It leaves a smaller scar, carries fewer risks, requires less recovery time, and, since it usually leaves the reproductive organs intact, it doesn't impact the patient's hormone production.

Ovarian cysts are considered relatively common in fertile adult women. Several different types of cysts can form on the ovaries, but the most common type may be the follicular cyst. These cysts typically form when an egg-containing ovarian follicle enlarges during the menstrual cycle, but fails to eventually open and release the egg into the Fallopian tube. Follicular cysts usually only contain clear fluid, though blood may fill the cyst if the ovary is injured, or if tiny capillaries beneath the cyst rupture. These cysts usually go away on their own and often cause no symptoms.

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While ovarian cysts often don't cause symptoms, sometimes they do. Symptoms of ovarian cysts can include pain during sexual intercourse, breast soreness, weight gain, and problems passing urine. Patients may experience feelings of pain or pressure in the lower abdomen, and pain in the back and legs. Menstrual periods may be irregular, or may appear accompanied by abnormal bleeding and pain. Nausea, vomiting, vertigo, weakness, and fever can occur.

Women experiencing painful or uncomfortable symptoms caused by ovarian cysts can benefit from a laparoscopic cystectomy. This procedure is considered minimally invasive, though it is normally performed under general anesthesia. Small incisions in the abdomen allow surgeons to insert a laparoscope, or tubelike instrument, through which medical tools and a camera may be fed. Surgeons can them remove cysts from the ovaries without damaging or removing the ovaries themselves. Laparoscopes can allow surgeons to perform internal surgeries without making large incisions.

Because laparascopic cystectomy generally requires only very small incisions, it involves a much shorter recovery time than do open surgical methods. Most patients stay in the hospital for only one to three days, and most can return to work and other daily activities within two weeks. Laparoscopic cystectomy generally carries a much lower risk of complications, including hernias and infection. Patients usually experience a smaller degree of pain when undergoing laparoscopic cystectomy.

Like any other surgical procedure, however, laparoscopic cystectomy carries risk. It can take longer to perform this procedure than it can to perform open surgery. Patients also generally face an increased risk of permanent damage to the bladder or urinary tract.

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