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Ovarian cyst removal

Key points

  • Ovarian cysts are common in women of childbearing age.
  • If a cyst isn’t causing you any symptoms, your doctor may suggest doing nothing for the time being, and simply keep an eye on it. This is called watchful waiting. You will be asked to attend regular ultrasound appointments to check the size of the cyst.
  • Most ovarian cysts are harmless and go away on their own.
  • You may need surgery to remove an ovarian cyst if it’s causing you pain or discomfort, or may be cancerous. Most ovarian cysts are removed by a procedure known as laparoscopy (keyhole surgery), although you may need open surgery.

Further information


  • Ovarian cysts. Medscape., published April 2014
  • Ovarian cysts. Office on Women’s Health., published July 2012
  • Can ovarian cysts become cancerous? Cancer Research UK., reviewed February 2014
  • Information for you after a laparoscopy. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists., published July 2010
  • Diagnostic laparoscopy (onsent advice 2). Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists., published December 2008
  • Ovarian cysts. BMJ Best Practice., published May 2014
  • Prevention of venous thromboembolism. PatientPlus., published June 2014
  • Patient information on surgery (ovarian cancer). BMJ Best Practice., published March 2013
  • Personal communication. Dr Robin Crawford, Consultant Gynaecologist, Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital, 9 May 2014
  • Medeiros LRF, Rosa DD, Bozzetti MC, et al. Laparoscopy versus laparotomy for benign ovarian tumour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 2. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004751.pub3
  • Anaesthesia explained. Royal College of Anaesthetists., published May 2008
  • Benign ovarian tumours. PatientPlus., published February 2012
  • Ovarian cysts in pregnancy. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists., published July 2013
  • Guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment and use of laparoscopy for surgical problems during pregnancy. Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Gynaecologists (SAGES)., published January 2011
  • Benign ovarian masses. The Merck Manuals., published September 2013
  • Ovarian cysts before the menopause. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists., published July 2013
  • Map of Medicine. Contraception. International View. London: Map of Medicine; 2013 (Issue 4)
  • Grimes DA, Jones LB, Lopez LM, et al. Oral contraceptives for functional ovarian cysts. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 9. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006134.pub4
  • Hysterectomy, surgical removal of the uterus. Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada., accessed 28 March 2014
  • Ovarian cysts. Women’s Health Concern., published March 2010
  • Hysterectomy and oophorectomy in women at high risk of ovarian cancer. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists,, published April 2013
  • Epithelial ovarian cancer. Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) October 2003.
  • Map of Medicine. Ovarian cancer. International View. London: Map of Medicine; 2014 (Issue 2)
  • Salpingo-oophorectomy. Medscape., published March 2012
  • Cancer genetics – ovarian cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support., reviewed July 2013


For answers to frequently asked questions on this topic, see FAQs.

For sources and links to further information, see Resources.

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  • This information was published by Bupa's Health Information Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition. The content is intended only for general information and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional. For more details on how we produce our content and its sources, visit the about our health information page.

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