Surgery is required for diagnosis and to determine the extent of the disease (staging). Ovarian cancer surgery is preferably done by a gynaecological oncologist to achieve a desirable outcome. Gynaecological oncologists are specialist cancer surgeons who are specially trained in the management of women’s cancers.
This is the removal of the uterus with cervix (total hysterectomy), both ovaries and the tubes (bilateral salpingo-oopherectomy), the fat ‘apron’ in the abdomen (omentectomy) and lymph nodes (lymphadenectomy). In some cases, the cancer may have spread into other nearby structures. Therefore, a more extensive operation is needed to remove as much of the cancer as possible. This is called debulking surgery which may involve removal of the bowel. This will usually be done through a midline or vertical incision in the abdomen.
Younger women who desire fertility may want to speak to your doctor for advice.
There are risks and complications associated with any major surgery. Due to some blood loss during your operation, blood transfusion is sometimes required. In rare cases, there may be internal bleeding after the operation, making a second operation necessary.
Occasionally, it is possible to develop blood clots in the veins of the leg, pelvis or in rare cases, in the lungs. Moving around after your operation can help prevent blood clots. Our physiotherapist will visit you after your operation to advise and assist with your mobility. To reduce the risk of blood clots, you will also be given injections to thin your blood during your stay in the hospital.
During any major operation involving the pelvic organs, there is a small risk of injury to the bladder and bowel. If this occurs, the injury will be repaired. There may be a small risk of developing an infection in the chest, wound, pelvis or urine. To reduce this risk, you will be given an antibiotic just before the operation.
In rare cases, wound breakdown (dehiscence) may occur and re-suturing of the wound maybe required.
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