Recovery time after a unilateral salpingo oophorectomy?

I know everyone is different, but just interested in people's experiences. Also any tips / advice for preparing and for afterwards?

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16 Replies

  • Hi there, I had a unilateral Salpingo oophorectomy last December. I am now 30 but was 29 at the time. They had to remove what turned out to be a borlerline tumour from my RH ovary. ( only giving the detail as you dont mention your own circumstances so you can compare) It depends whether you have the mocroscope surgery or the major ( open wound) surgery. I had to have both within 2 months of each other. But the recovery from the keyhole surgery is far easier than the recovery from the major surgery, as you would expect. After the keyhole surgery ( this was for investigation only in my case, but some ovary removal surgery can be done using this method too) i was back at work after 2 weeks, and feeling much better after one week. You cannot drive for a number of weeks, this is dependent on the advice of your surgeon/doc depending on post op recovery. After the major surgery, you cant drive for at least 6 weeks. I have an office based job, and was back at work after 11 weeks, i found that a shower was difficult for the first week or so, as i have a "shower over bath" arrrangement and it was near on impossible to climb into the bath. You will possibly need a little help with dressing/washing, not necessarily to the point where someone has to wash you, but certainly to grab the towel/get your clothes etc, as lifting and stretching are not possible, and can cause more harm than good particularly in the first few weeks. If you have young children/grandchildren ( sorry im not sure what age bracket you fall into you will not be able to look after them on your own. My son is 7 and although he is more than capable, if he had got into trouble, I wouldnt have been able to help him out. i think recovery time can be much longer, and consider myself to have been very fortunate in recovery from the op, although it didnt feel like it for the first few weeks! If you are having keyhole surgery, you should feel reassured, at least from my experience, this is much preferred to open surgery. If it is open surgery, be prepared to REST. As tempting as it is in the hours of boredom and frustration at not even being able to make a cup of tea, it will be of so much more benefit to you to resist that temptation and allow yourself some "me" time for a good recovery. I hope your operation goes well - when are you going in? I am sure you will also find many others on this site who are able to give you some excellent information about recovery after the operation too.
  • Hi Ruffio

    Tracy has given you excellent advice.

    I had a hysterectomy to remove a borderline tumour and then a second procedure 5 months later to investigate why I had terrible pain. I got over the first operation slowly but very well. The second , when the large midline incision was almost fully reopened) , took far more out of me than I expected. It was a good six weeks before I felt anywhere normal and I would say at least a year to a year and a half after the second operation that I felt OK.

    I went balk to work to an office based job six weeks after the second op , but on a very slow gradual return to work.I was 48 at the time , but was super fit before all of this.

    Alot also depends on the skill of the surgeon. I found that gynae surgeons tend to be alot more skilled than "general" surgeons , I'm sure you will be operated on by a gynaecologist.

    Be sure to warn your employers that you will be off for at least six weeks and if you have an occupational health department consider speaking to them , mine was fantastic.This has all been a big shock for you , so take things very easy.

    I hope it all goes well for you.

    Charlie xxx
  • Many thanks for your replies, advice and information. I had a laparoscopy and cystectomy in january for endometriosis and what turned out to be a borderline ovarian tumour on my left ovary, which is likely what has reoccured - hence the oophorectomy. Am having a frozen section so biopsy during the op and although i know they try and do it all keyhole, there's always the chance of going to open.
    I was off for 2 weeks after my lap, and it wasn't until the 2nd week i started to feel any better, so guessing recovery may be a bit longer this time.
    I am 30 years old, no children and lucky to have a very caring husband who looked after me wonderfully last time.
    Thanks again for your replies and good wishes.
  • Hi there, I am at home recovering from a bilateral laparascopic oophorectomy and have to say I am really shocked at how painful and long the recovery is. My surgeon told me recovery would be one week and then I could go back to work and I could be released the same day of my op!! Well, the truth is I stayed in overnight and was discharged the next day when I really did not feel up to it, I could barely walk and was in agony. I am now entering week 3 of recovery and still not up to going back to work (I had told my employers that I would be off for between one and two weeks) and cannot foresee going back for at least another week or so. I know everyone is different but must say that this is the most painful op I've ever had, the pain has been excrutiating (I've also had 2 ops for cervical cancer). I dont want to scare anyone but want to be honest. I was pressured by my surgeon to have it as I have BRCA1 but in hindsight wish I hadnt, my sister who was considering it has now decided not to have it seeing the pain I'm in.

    I hope you are all recovering better than me although reading internet blogs most people are saying 4-6 weeks so I have no idea why my surgeon told me one week - I will be bringing it up with her during our next consultation. The only positive is that so far I've had no meno symptoms at all!

    I do want to stress that everyone is different and dont want to frighten anyone but also feel if I had been more informed of the recovery I would have been better prepared

    Good luck to all of you and I hope you sail through recovery xxx
  • Out of curiosity are you thin? I'm about to have this surgery Monday and I was warned I would have a longer recovery than most because of my weight and size (120 lbs). They said with endometriosis and tiny frame I could face longer recovery than most. I asked if it was more painful to some women than others and was told my size matters in this.
  • To: debsieeg

    I had both ovaries and my tubes removed due to the discovery of two masses in my ovaries. I don't know why this lady has had so much pain, but perhaps my story can help.

    Right after surgery, I was in a moderate amount of pain, but as time went on the pain became worse and worse. After a day of this, I got the feeling that perhaps the pain was related to having gas. They have to pump air into your incision to see what they are doing, and I was unable to expel this air (this is a polite way of saying "fart"). The doctors encouraged me to walk around the hospital floor and then I would be able to fart. That didn't work and as I got back to my room, I remembered that this had ocurred to me once before, and I had bent over thinking that might help me fart. I bent over, and sure enough, the air was expelled.

    So, I bent over my hospital bed, and what do you know? The floodgates opened. I had to beg the forgiveness of my roommate, but now that I had they answer, I bent over whenever I felt the pain coming back. I don't know if your pain is the result of having unexpelled gas, but try my method. After a while, I found that I had to sort of pump my body by standing erect, then bending over several times. Almost any position can do it. I also tried leaning over to my left and right, and that helped too.

    I had been encouraged to have my ovaries removed over a year ago, because I had the BRCA1 gene. I am very sorry now that I didn't do it then, because now I have ovarian cancer, and the doctors have found that the cancer may have spread to two other organs. As you know, ovarian cancer does not have a good prognosis. Please tell your sister to have the surgery now, before she develops this terrible cancer. I know she may be scared by how much pain you are having, but that does not compare to the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
  • I go In Monday to have my ovary and fallopian tube removed I'm so scared but I also have a blocked kidney I'm scared I will never be able to have kids I'm scared I'm not going to wake up I'm dreading Monday
  • Not sure if the dates are correct but your comment stated that your oophorectomy is in a few days? If that's correct, I just wanted to say good luck. I had the same operation three days ago and am fine. Mine was done via keyhole surgery and was a lot easier than an open op I had many years ago. The gas pains I developed a day after the op this time were pretty sharp, in my right side, so sleeping was awkward for one night. I'd imagine that there are medications you can take to prevent this though. Otherwise, keep up the fibre and regular pain meds so you don't leave it until you really need them and lots of fluids and rest. You'll probably need sanitary protection like I do, so remember to take some in with you. I'm sure you'll be fine and it's such a relief to know it's all over afterwards.
  • Thankyou sasstal so much I'm going in Monday I'm so scared but hearing that everything was OK with u you have made me feel better
  • I recently found out I have the BRACA 1 gene, things have progressed very quickly and I now have had both overies and fallopian tubes removed. The operation took place on Thursday afternoon, it is now Sunday and I can honestly say I feel fantastic! Uncomfortable and a bit of pain but nothing that I cannot handle. I am going for a bilateral masectomy as soon as I can. I am fit and healthy right now and I believe that I am fortunate to have found out I have this gene as I can get over these operations, I am not so sure I can recover from the aggresive cancer I have a huge possibility of getting. I watched my mum dying, both of her sisters died the same way in a very short time. That is not an option for this chic. Everyone has their own opinion on how to handle the information they have and make informed choices. I would go back into hospital tomorrow to have the next operation done. Severe as it is I want to be back on track to health as soon as possible. I hope the angels are watching and everything that is taken from me is clear of cancer. This is my way of saying NO to it.... I am booked up to go back to Phuket Thailand for Christmas and I have NO intention of cancelling. I am scared but for me there is no other choice.... My thoughts and Prayers are with everyone fighting cancer and wish them all a speedy recovery XXX
  • I had a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy 2 weeks ago and I am feeling amazing. I read many of these sites prior to my surgery and got a lot of helpful hints so I am paying it forward and recounting my experience. I hope it helps at least one.

    About 2 months ago while exercising, I felt a pull and thought I had a hernia. After a few days of discomfort, I went to my Dr and he ordered an MRI where they found a 11 cm ovarian cyst. My Gyno gathered more information with an ultrasound and CA 125 cancer screening and hormone test. The results said I had an extremely low cancer risk and ovaries were in full menopause.

    So we decided to do the full bilateral S-O. No reason to keep the ovaries if they were no longer working and it would also eliminate any risk of future cysts.

    So I was scheduled for laparoscopic surgery. It was the first time I had general anesthesia. I was wheeled into the operating room, helped to transfer onto the operating table and asked to move up an inch and that is the last thing I remember. I was out cold without having to count backward.

    I woke up about 4 hours later in recovery and told the nurse I felt remarkably normal. Then she elevated my head and I felt the pain in my lower abdomin. She asked if I wanted pain meds and I said yes. The meds reduced the sharpness of the pain and made it bearable. Now, this pain started at about a 6 out of 10 and felt like I had been stabbed with a knife and the knife was still in my. But with the pain meds, the pain reduced to a 2 out of 10 in about 15 minutes.

    I didn't feel nauseous at all which surprised me. I was up and walking within another hour and got dressed to go home. I saw I had one "tiny" incision in my belly button. Another small incision low on one side with one stitch and one larger incision low on the other side with 3 stitches. The large incision was very straight and clean and that was the source of the pain I was feeling. I felt no pain at all from the other two incisions.

    Once dressed, I did have the feeling my insides could fall out. It was odd but normal. The car ride home was 20 minutes and my honey took it easy and missed the bumps. I took a pillow with me to put between the seatbelt and my belly. That helped a lot.

    We stopped and picked up the pain meds at the pharmacy (hydrocodone) and went home to bed. I had a step stool by my bed and that helped to get into bed without bending very much. I used many pillows to prop me up in bed.

    I immediately took Gas-X and Colace to reduce gas side effects and get my bowels in motion asap. The anesthesia slows down the bowels and you have to get them moving from the beginning or else. For the few days prior to surgery, I also reduced my food intake to soups and yogurt to give my bowels a break.

    Interestingly, I had read so much about the surgical gas migrating into the shoulders and causing pain. I had NONE of this. Perhaps my surgeon deflated me completely. I had no bloating and no pain so I never took the Gas-X again. Didn't need it, thankfully.

    One thing I did prior to surgery was to borrow some handrails that an elderly person would use in the bathroom. I put them on each side of the toilet. It really helped to have something to lean on & grab onto to lower my butt to the toilet seat without using my stomach muscles. And they were helpful to get up.

    I also had no side effects from the anesthesia. I didn't sleep once I got home until 11pm when my honey and I went to sleep, as normal. I sleep through the night. In the morning, I took a pain pill and got out of bed about 1 hour after taking the meds so they had time to kick in.

    Getting in and out of bed was a slow process but having my honey on hand was helpful although I didn't let him pull me up. I would move one leg toward the edge of the bed and dangle it over, then move the other leg toward the edge of the bed, then slowly move them both letting gravity do the work until my feet hit the floor. Since I was propped up on pillows, I didn't have to engage my stomach muscles to get up. Slow is the operative word. Take your time!

    Once I was up, I felt like my insides would fall out but I think that is normal. On the second day, I paced back and forth among the rooms in my house. Doc told me to get moving. He told my honey too who made sure to remind me. The 1st day after surgery was challenging and uncomfortable but not painful, per se. I took the pain pills on schedule but when I was reclining in bed, I really felt as though I had not had surgery. When I got up or sat down, that's when I had the most discomfort, but no sharp pains.

    1st day post surgery, I kept drinking fluids (cucumber water, ginger ale, water) and eating light (soup, crackers, granola). I put on a maxidress and entertained visitors from my bed. Again, as long as I was reclined, I felt fine. I gave myself a sponge bath. Doc said I could shower but I didn't feel up to it.

    2nd day post surgery, I made an error. I had asked my honey to remove one of the pillows so I could sleep more flat. Boy, was that a mistake I never made again. When I woke up that 2nd morning, I tried to move a little but my back had seized up and I could not get up. And my stomach muscles were on strike and didn't work either. I had to take my pain meds, wait an hour then have my honey physically lift me up. He is sweet but even he complained - "that was all dead weight." LOL, and I only weigh 150 pounds. I could not help him at all. I made sure I slept upright for the next week. It saved him and me a lot of difficulty. Again, I gave myself a sponge bath.

    On that 2nd day post surgery, I went the rest of the day without pain meds. The only discomfort was when I was up and walking around and that was bearable so I stayed off the drugs for the rest of the day. The pain meds can produce constipation so I wanted off as soon as possible. Also, my system is not used to drugs. I never take drugs normally, not even aspirin. I managed to paced between rooms each time I got up to use the toilet.

    3rd day post surgery, I had a bowel movement and because of the Colace, I didn't have to work at all. I didn't want to bear down and didn't have too. Thankfully. Sponge bath again. And not pain meds at all.

    4th day post surgery, I got up, took a full shower, washed my hair (finally) and got dressed. I even went into the den for a change of scenery. The couch was too low so I took a couch seat cushion and piled it up and sat on that. I was able to get up and down without too much discomfort. No pain meds

    5th day post surgery, I took a shower, got dressed and took a walk outside - about a mile total. No pain meds.

    6th day post surgery, it was all going well except my bowels had not functioned again so I took Senecot and that did the trick overnight. I took Senocot laxatives for a few days to make sure my bowels were moving along fine. The Colace was not enough.

    Each day was better than the last. I walked further each day and felt better getting up and down. I was back to work after 6 work days off. I was not rushed to get back to work; I just felt ready. Stitches came out on day 13 and no problems. I put Neosporin antibiotic ointment on the scars to make them heal up. They look great and feel pretty good. They won't be noticeable in a month and Doc put them where they won't been seen. He is so nice to his lady patients. LOL

    I was amazed at how well I have healed and the skill of my surgeon. I read some scary things when I was researching this pre-op and I want to assure anyone reading this that you should prepare for the worst but expect the best. I was ready for the shoulder pain, being out of work for weeks, and a long recovery. But, in reality, I had minimal pain except when getting up and down and the pain was only at the large incision location and I took 1 week off work and felt fine when I went back to work (desk job).

    My surgeon did tell me that the incision he made was large then he would normally make but because of the size of the cyst, he had to make it larger to get it out.

    Let me add a few suggestions. You should have some compression garments so when you do go out of the house, you don't feel like your guts are going to end up on the floor. I did wear a tight long camisole after day 5 and it helped. I wore controltop pantihose when I went back to work. Just that little pressure made all the difference. It's not like a hysterectomy or post-pregnancy garment - just slight pressure.

    Also, keep cough lozenges handy. If you even feel you need to clear your throat, pop a lozenge in your mouth. YOU DO NOT WANT TO COUGH. I thought I could clear my throat with a small cough and ended up in a full fit and lots of pain. No Joy in that.
  • Jane-Betty, what a thorough and helpful response! I already picked up Gas-X and a stool softener, but will now get a laxative, look for temporary support bars for the bathroom, and plan a light diet and to take my meds to bed with me so that I can dose before I try to get out of bed. Lots and lots of great advice in your post, thank you so much for sharing!

    I'm having bilateral S&O this coming Thursday to remove a large (10cm) cyst on the right and some smaller cysts on the left. A question for you, or anyone else who has had experience: were you able to do stairs ok the day/night of the surgery? I really don't want to sleep downstairs, but will need to figure something out ahead of time if stairs aren't possible for the first few days. My thanks,
  • Hello Jane-Betty, I agree, that was so helpful reading your experience above. I am due to have both ovaries and tubes out this week and my doctor says its quick recovery with one night stay..possibly 2 but no more than a week of work should be expected. I am having laproscopic also. Exactly as you describe above. I am 52 and post menopause. I have a harmless looking 5 cm cyst on one ovary and have watched it a couple of years but now I am post menopause I have decided its time to remove it and my doctor advised (a she) that she thinks I should have both ovaries and tubes out.

    My only concern is how I will feel "hot flush" wise. I work full time and i got through menopause quite smoothly but there were times, particularly meetings, when I wanted to curl up and die as my hot flush was so obvious and once I just had to leave the room as I was just overwhelmed with heat.

    Things are much better now and I sleep well and I feel like I am out the otherside.

    I have not taken any HRT and don't want to as my mother died of breast cancer after taking if for 12 years as she hated hot flushes. My 3 elder sisters are all ok and no one else in the family has had breast cancer so we all feel the HRT had something to do with it. I have not had a gene test.

    I have read that the ovaries still produce testosterone and androgens etc after menopause so I am wondering if your menopause symptoms increase slightly or greately after your operation?

    Have you taken HRT at all?

    I was wondering whether to leave one ovary but there is no guarantee it will keep the flushes away and then I still have to monitor it.

    My doctor thinks while we are in there removing a cyst and I am post menopausal why not take both ovaries out to reduce risk of ovarian cancer. She can't really guarantee I will not have any huge side effects but she doesn't think it will be much.

    No one can guarantee this and I have not been able to read much about it.

    I really don't want to take HRT..that really scares me because of my mother.

    Any comments on this are welcome.

    Thank you.
  • Hi I'm going in Monday 12th to have a mass my ovary and fallopian tube removed I'm so scared but I have a blocked kidney as I have a stent in but it's not working
  • As others have said, it rather depends on whether laparoscopic or open.
    I've had 3 lots of laparascopic surgery and they were all extraordinarily problem free. No problems really with anything in the immediate aftermath and within 10 days - 2 weeks was pretty much back to normal apart from help with lifting etc. Certainly no problems with stairs or getting up and down.
    I also ended up with open surgery and that was more of a problem. I remember feeling completely daunted by the stairs when I got home, but I had been in hospital for over a week. They were manageable, with a lot of caution. And of course the more I did them, the easier it got.
    My advice would always be to assume it will all go well, but be prepared and have someone able to rush round on your behalf if it doesn't. We're all different and operations can turn out differently too, as this thread shows.
    Best of luck!
  • Im just entering my 3rd week post opp

    Im only just starting to become more mobile

    I am still weak and experiencing discomfort , with a five minute essential car journy being almost unbearable to attend a brief meeting with my accountant yesturday

    MY boyfriend did a bit of reading up on the op thankfully because the hospital gave no advice when discharging me four hours after going down for surgery with 1 pkt of paracetamol.

    I really thought it would be as stated on the brief info sheet given to me at my pre op assessment that I would be back to normal and work after 2 weeks .... I now know will be more like 6


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