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  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:



(Ovariectomy; Salpingo-Oophorectomy; Bilateral Oophorectomy; Oophorectomy, Bilateral)


Oophorectomy is the removal of one or both ovaries. People who have both ovaries removed will no longer menstruate and will not be able to get pregnant.

This may be combined with removing the fallopian tubes (salpingo-oophorectomy). It is often done during a hysterectomy .

The Female Reproductive System

Nucleus factsheet image\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\BJ00029.jpgNULL18NULL2008-11-072803907252_14848Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

This procedure may be done to:

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing or sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots, especially in the veins of the legs
  • Damage to other organs
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause if both ovaries are removed
  • Depression

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking excess alcohol
  • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity
  • Prior pelvic surgery or infection

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging for a ride to and from surgery
  • Tests that will need to be done before surgery, such as images of the pelvic organs


General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep.

Description of Procedure

This procedure may be done in one of two ways:

Open Surgery

A cut will be made. It will either be across the pubic hair line or from navel to pubic bone. The abdominal muscles will be pulled apart. The surgeon will be able to see the ovaries. The blood vessels will be tied off to help prevent bleeding. The ovaries, and often the fallopian tubes, will be removed. The cut will be closed with staples or stitches. Bandages will be placed over the area.

Laparoscopic Surgery

A small cut will be made near the naval. A tiny tool with a tiny camera on the end will be inserted. This will let the surgeon see the pelvic organs on a video monitor. Other small cuts will be made. Special tools will be inserted through them. The tools will be used to cut and tie off the blood vessels and fallopian tubes. The ovaries will be detached. They will then be removed through a small cut at the top of the vagina. The ovaries may also be cut into smaller sections and removed through the tiny cuts in the abdominal wall. The cuts will be closed with stitches. Bandages will be placed over them.

Immediately After Procedure

The removed organs will be sent to a lab for examination.

How Long Will It Take?

1 to 4 hours

Will It Hurt?

Pain is common in the first few days. Medicine and home care help.

Average Hospital Stay

Most people can go home in 1 to 3 days. It depends on which surgery method was used. If there are any problems, you may need to stay longer.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital

Right after the procedure, the staff may:

  • Give you pain medicine
  • Encourage you to walk

During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to lower your risk of infection, such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your wounds covered

There are also steps you can take to lower your risk of infection, such as:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and staff to do the same
  • Reminding staff to wear gloves or masks
  • Not letting others touch your wounds

At Home

It will take up to 6 weeks to fully heal. Physical activity will be limited during this time. Sex will need to be avoided. Ask for help with daily activities and delay your return to work.

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the wounds
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Vaginal bleeding that soaks more than one pad per hour
  • Pain, burning, urgency or frequency of urination, or lasting blood in the urine
  • Swelling, redness, or pain in the legs
  • New or worsening symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.





  • Endometrial cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute website. Available at:
  • Oophorectomy and ovarian cystectomy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
  • Ovarian cancer. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists website. Available at:
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.