Children's Hospital Colorado

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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 Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology at Children’s Hospital Colorado includes board-certified pediatric gynecologists, all specially trained to determine if laparoscopic surgery is right for you or your child. While we understand that family planning may not be something your child 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 the chance of being able to have a child 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 you or your child feel safe and comfortable during surgery. We encourage you or your family to stay with the patient while our nurses, anesthesia staff and gynecology team prepares them for the procedure. Our Child Life team also helps to ease any anxiety by explaining what to expect before and after surgery to you or your child and family.

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.

The surgeon then fills 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 for stitches. Your family will be allowed to be with you or your child when the patient wakes up in the recovery room. After doctors have made a final examination, the patient will usually be able to go home that same day.

What to expect after a laparoscopic cystectomy

You or your child may experience some abdominal discomfort after the surgery, but any pain 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 child shows they can take in liquids and the pain is minimal, we will allow them 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 you or your child 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.