What is Ovarian Cancer Surgery?
Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the ovaries, the female reproductive organs responsible for producing eggs and hormones. Surgery plays a central role in the treatment of ovarian cancer, aiming to remove as much cancerous tissue as possible and assess the extent of the disease.
Diagnosis and Staging:
Ovarian cancer is often challenging to detect in its early stages due to vague symptoms and the deep location of the ovaries within the pelvis. Diagnosis typically involves a pelvic examination, imaging studies (PETscan, CT scan, or MRI), and blood tests, including CA-125, a tumor marker associated with ovarian cancer.
- Staging Laparotomy: The most common surgical procedure for ovarian cancer is a staging laparotomy, which involves removing the uterus, both ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the surrounding tissues which contain lymph nodes. This procedure is often combined with omentectomy, the removal of the omentum (a fatty apron-like tissue covering the abdominal organs).
- Lymph Node Dissection: In some cases, lymph node dissection may be performed to remove the lymph nodes in the pelvic and abdominal regions to assess whether cancer has spread beyond the ovaries.
- Debulking Surgery: For advanced-stage ovarian cancer, where the tumor has spread extensively throughout the abdominal cavity, debulking surgery (cytoreductive surgery) may be attempted. The goal of debulking surgery is to remove as much visible cancerous tissue as possible, aiming for minimal residual disease
Minimally Invasive Surgery:
In some early-stage ovarian cancers and selected cases, minimally invasive surgical techniques may be used, such as laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgery. These methods involve smaller incisions, resulting in reduced post-operative pain, quicker recovery, and shorter hospital stays.
For young women with early-stage ovarian cancer who desire to preserve their fertility, fertility-sparing surgery may be an option. This approach involves removing only the affected ovary and fallopian tube while sparing the uterus and the other ovary, if possible. Fertility-sparing surgery is only suitable for specific types and stages of ovarian cancer.
In cases of advanced ovarian cancer where the disease has spread extensively and complete tumor removal is not possible, palliative surgery may be performed to alleviate symptoms, reduce pain, and improve the quality of life.
Chemotherapy and Follow-up:
After surgery, most ovarian cancer patients will undergo chemotherapy to target any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence. Chemotherapy may be administered intravenously or directly into the abdominal cavity (intraperitoneal chemotherapy). Following treatment, regular follow-up visits are essential to monitor for any signs of recurrence and manage any long-term effects of treatment.
Ovarian cancer surgery, like any major surgery, carries potential risks and complications, including infection, bleeding, blood clots, and damage to nearby organs. The extent of complications depends on the stage of cancer, the patient’s overall health, and the surgical approach.
Risks and Complications:
Ovarian cancer surgery is a major procedure, and as with any surgery, there are inherent risks and potential complications. These may include:
- Surgical site infection: Infection at the incision site is possible and can be managed with antibiotics.
- Blood clots: Surgery can increase the risk of blood clots forming in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism). Preventive measures, such as blood-thinning medications and early ambulation, are often employed to reduce this risk.
- Bowel or bladder injury: During surgery, nearby organs like the bowel or bladder can be inadvertently injured. Surgeons take great care to avoid such complications, but they may occur and require additional surgical intervention.
- Lymphedema: Removal of lymph nodes can lead to lymphedema, causing swelling in the legs or lower abdomen due to impaired lymphatic drainage. Physical therapy and compression garments can help manage this condition.
Role of Surgery in Advanced Ovarian Cancer:
In advanced-stage ovarian cancer, where the tumor has spread beyond the ovaries and pelvic region, surgery remains an essential component of treatment. While complete tumor removal may not be possible, debulking surgery aims to reduce the tumor burden and improve the effectiveness of subsequent chemotherapy. Studies have shown that optimal debulking, where the surgeon removes as much tumor tissue as possible, is associated with improved survival rates.
Recurrent Ovarian Cancer:
For some women, ovarian cancer may recur after initial treatment. In cases of recurrent ovarian cancer, surgery may still play a role in managing the disease. The decision to perform surgery for recurrent cancer depends on factors such as the site and extent of recurrence, the patient’s overall health, and the interval since the initial treatment. Surgical removal of isolated tumor masses or palliative surgery to relieve symptoms may be considered in select cases.
Ovarian cancer treatment often involves a multidisciplinary approach, with a team of specialists collaborating to provide comprehensive care. This team may include gynecologic oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and other healthcare professionals. The team works together to develop a tailored treatment plan for each patient, considering the stage of cancer, the patient’s overall health, and individual preferences.
Supportive Care and Rehabilitation:
After ovarian cancer surgery, supportive care and rehabilitation are crucial aspects of the recovery process. Physical therapy can aid in regaining strength and mobility, while emotional support through counseling or support groups can help patients cope with the emotional challenges of the diagnosis and treatment.
In conclusion, surgery is a fundamental component of ovarian cancer treatment, and the specific surgical approach depends on the cancer stage, the patient’s preferences, and the surgeon’s expertise. The goal of ovarian cancer surgery is to remove as much cancerous tissue as possible while preserving the patient’s health and quality of life. Combined with chemotherapy and appropriate follow-up care, surgery offers the best chance for successful outcomes in the management of ovarian cancer.
Ovarian Cancer Surgery Clinic:
We provide the best healthcare facilities for Ovarian Cancer Surgery. Our multispecialty clinics are situated in the following locations
Our Centre's for Ovarian Cancer Surgery
One can visit any of our branches that are nearby to your location for the best overall healthcare treatment of Ovarian Cancer Surgery . Our experts not only provide superior quality care using latest technologies but also provide complete treatment along with rehabilitation facilities and post-operative care.