My Ovacome
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Going to have an OPEN Unilateral Oopherectomy... what can I expect???

I recently was diagnosed with pelvic congestion, and underwent an embolization of the veins. I am 24, thin, and very healthy. I have a daughter who is two. I have had a loooong history of ovarian cysts (3 required surgery, 5 hospitalizations). So the embolization was done about 8 weeks ago, and needless to say it did not work as planned. The doctor said I have one of the worst cases of pelvic varices he has ever seen. My ct scan looks like my ovary has become medusa there are so many veins, which my ovary is tangled in. So after eight weeks of waiting in excruciating pain, my vascular surgeon and OB have decided to do a surgery together to remove the veins and ovary as well. He said my other ovary was healthy, and the one being removed is not really functioning other than growing cysts and causing pain. Because of the severity of the veins they are going to have to do the surgery open, not laposcropically. I was just wondering what I can expect after the surgery, and has any one else ever dealt with any of this? I am scheduled to stay at the hospital for at least one night, possibly more, depending on what happens during surgery.

Thanks for any help, or related experiences!!

8 Replies


The open surgery is pretty standard in ovarian cancer, and the bilateral operation often. I had it and was told that it has the benefit of the surgeon being able to see more clearly the extent of the disease, and remove it all. I expect it is the extent of the pelvic varices that they feel they need to explore in your case.

As for the operation - I had the bilateral op; and it was extensive, but I left hospital after 3 nights, and recovered very well, having more problems from the drain site than from the operation site itself. It will take up to 6 weeks before you can lift, drive, etc - and you will feel as if you've crashed into a brick wall some days - but that is normal. I was 53, and moderately fit (but I did have stage3c grade 3 cancer, so I can't have been as well as I felt!).

I presume you will not have to have chemo afterwards, so your complete recovery should go ahead unhindered, and I'm sure you will sail through. Do have some help with your 2 year old for the first couple of months and remember, you will not be able to pick her up.

Very best wishes, and good luck.



Isadora, thank u for your response. I am planning on staying with my parents for a couple weeks after the surgery so I can have lots of help with my daughter. I was just not sure how long I was going to need help... The dr. Said a min of 2 weeks doing absolutely nothing, I'm just afraid it's going to be longer than that. I'm just ready to get it over with so I can get on with life and start enjoying my life again... Not that I'm not now, it's just hard to do things being in pain all of the time. I really appreciate you taking time to respond, and share your experience with me... It helps to hear what others went through... Kind of helps ease my nervousness!


hi there, I was 29 when I had my ops last year ( unlateral oophorectomy). I had a laparoscopy ( keyhole surgery) in October, which Identified that the growth on my ovary was more than the cyst they originally thought it was ( It turned out to be a borderline Ovarian tumour) which meant that I needed to have a laparotomy ( open surgery, large incision wound across bikini line, or sometimes cut vertically) in december. I think what you are describing for your op is the keyhole surgery which from experience is far easier to recover from in hindsight but didnt feel like it at the time! My original laparoscopy was inspection only and no surgery was carried out. i also have a young child ( he was 7 at the time) and needed help to look after him. As Isadora says, you cant lift, walk fast enough, react fast enough or have the energy to care for a small child. so it is very important you have some support to help with your little one. Also you will feel very sore, and very tired after the op, and because there will be a couple of sites where you have had stiches for the microscope ( they were fairly small, but will still give you pain when sitting up etc, adn i am only talking from the experiece of inspection) so its a good idea to build up some arm strength as you will need it for getting in and out of bed etc! But other than being very sore, tired, and a short walk feeling like ten miles for the first couple of weeks, you should be feeling well fairly quickly after a laparoscopy. I was able to take a short walk, very slowly by the second week, although bear in mind that if you are not, you will have had actual surgery done by keyhole rather than inspection, and therefore you may feel pain and tenderness for longer during recovery. Certainly when they did my op and actual surgery during the second op it was a far slower recovery and Iw as off work for 4 months whilst i recovered. but a lot of that recovery was because of the very large incision i had. I wish you well with your operation, and hope all goes smoothly, but do find some assistance with your child at any times you are likely to be alone as you will struggle otherwise, and risk harming yourself after your operation. :) Tracy x


Hello Tracy, thank u for your response. I am not having the keyhole procedure, I am being opened up through a large scar on my left side from a previous surgery. I have read a lot about keyhole procedures, I am just trying to find out about having a larger surgery and what I can expect afterward, because I have not found many responses or links about the type I am having. I really appreciate all the info u gave me!


ahh ok, well the major surgery is certainly more difficult to recover from than the keyhole surgery. But my incision was 10 inches across the bikini line, so i guess where the incision is will have some reflection on the recovery time too. i found it really difficult and uncomfortable sitting and lying down, ended up having a whole routine of getting into bed and rearranging 12 pillows every night just to get remotely comfortable! if you have a walk in shower that will be good, but for me, as i had no stomach muscles after op, I couldnt get into the over bath shower so there was some interesting times trying to wash the wound too! I was off work for 4 months in all, and consider myself very fortunate during the recovery phase, in terms of no infections or problems etc and I would say it took me at least 6 weeks to feel comfortable walking even short distances and certainly couldnt do anything more than shuffling at a slow pace for that period of time. You will be fine, you just have to make sure you do accept help wherever possible, and tell yourself that there is nothing that wont wait until tomorrow. it is easy to feel like you want to do things because it is so frustrating sitting around not doing anything. but you will only risk infections and the like post op. it was my first major surgery so i didnt have anything to compare it against, but although it was tough, it does get easier within a month or so, although you may well find that being able to look after your little one without assistance may take a little longer, my partner had 2 months off work with me and by the time he went back I was just about able to sort my son out, who is 7 so coudl do quite a bit for himself. Hopefully that helps, I wish you all the best for your surgery



Hi, I had a full hysterectomy last nov for OC and a 22cm ovarian cyst - therefore I had

a 22cm cut straight down front of stomach. I can honestly say the pain wasn't anywhere

near as bad as I expected.You are given morphine after operation and next day on to

lots of painkillers so that you dont feel any pain.You will probably get very constipated

after op so it is important to not let it go on too long - senna tablets and movicol are

very good - and the ladies on this site recommend lots of pears too. Wish I had been

told this before my op!! Good luck and keep in touch - we would love to hear how

you get on.

Best wishes Angie x


Hi Forgot to say don't wear pyjamas - you will need a nightie or something loose

as your tummy will feel sore. x


I've been opened up three times now vertically, the first was to just below belly button, then a year later above it and now I am five weeks post a very major op where it goes right up to my sternum. I had a open hysterectomy too done horizontally along bikini line. The vertical incisions are worse, they are often closed with staples which look horrible but no chance of popping open!

I had a unilateral oopherectomy first aged 32 and my youngest was 3 then. They thought it was a regular ovarian cyst yet but turned out to be borderline malignant. I'm lucky to have my wounds all heal quickly but you need baggy granny pants at first and nighties to wear then loose Tracky bottoms. My mum helped a lot the first few weeks with the children and house work etc. I think I was in hospital about five days.

Good luck with it all.


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