Children's Hospital Colorado

We’re passionate about providing answers, treatment and care for the full range of female reproductive health concerns, from infancy through adolescence and into adulthood.



What is a laparoscopic cystectomy?

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A laparoscopic cystectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that a surgeon performs to remove a cyst, which is a mass or sac containing fluid. When this mass is connected to the ovaries, we call it an ovarian cyst. When performing a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy, our goal is to remove the excess ovarian mass while preserving as much of the original ovarian tissue as possible.

During a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy, the surgeon makes three small incisions that are each about 5mm in length. By putting a very small camera through one incision, the surgeon places their tools through the other incisions and uses the live video feed from the camera to carefully guide the procedure.

Doctors usually choose the option of a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy when they believe the ovarian mass will not likely resolve on its own and is unlikely to be malignant (cancerous).

Why choose us for a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy?

The Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Department at Children’s Hospital Colorado includes board-certified pediatric gynecologists, all specially trained to determine if laparoscopic surgery is right for your child. While we understand that family planning may not be something your daughter is thinking of now, it might be important in the future. That's why we use the laparoscopic approach whenever possible: to preserve healthy ovarian tissue and increase a girl's chance of having her own children later in life. Minimally invasive laparoscopy also means a faster recovery time and smaller chance of infection.

As a children’s hospital, we work hard to make your daughter feel safe and comfortable during any procedure. We encourage you to stay with her while our pediatric-trained nurses, anesthesia staff and gynecology team prepares her for the procedure. Our Child Life team also helps to ease any anxiety by explaining what to expect before and after surgery to you and your child.

What to expect during a laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy procedure

During the procedure, surgeons use small, tube-like instruments that they pass through three small incisions. They will insert a small camera through an incision in the belly button and the other instruments through incisions in the lower abdomen.

Then, your daughter’s surgeon will fill the abdomen with safe, carbon dioxide air to create a space for them to work. They use the instruments to carefully remove the cyst through one of the incisions. Once they confirm all the excess tissue has been removed, they release the air from the abdomen.

The incisions are small enough that most can be closed with glue, avoiding the need to use stitches. You will be allowed to be with your daughter as she wakes up in the recovery room. After doctors have made a final examination, you will be able to take your child home, usually that same day.

What to expect after a laparoscopic cystectomy

Your daughter may experience some abdominal discomfort after the surgery, but any pain she may have felt prior to surgery from the cyst should be gone. Many patients in this situation feel better immediately upon waking. We remove as much of the air used in the surgery as possible, but some might remain and cause temporary discomfort, which patients may feel as shoulder pain.

Once your daughter shows she can take in liquids and the pain is minimal, we will allow her to go home. We prescribe pain medication for a short time afterwards but most pain is usually gone within one week. Generally, we schedule a postoperative appointment 1 to 2 weeks after the surgery to check on how your daughter is recovering.

Please call the ParentSmart Healthline at 1-855-KID-INFO (543-4636) if you have any questions or concerns afterwards. Pediatric nurses are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.