Ovarian Cancer Surgery & Surgical Oncology Procedures
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Surgery for Ovarian Cancer
The first line in the treatment and diagnosis of ovarian cancer at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) is surgery. Our goal during ovarian cancer surgery is to locate and remove as much of the tumor tissue as possible, called debulking, and to understand the extent of the cancer in the ovaries and elsewhere in the abdomen.
During surgery for ovarian cancer, we also collect samples of a variety of tissues to test for the presence of cancer, so we can proactively address any cancer metastasis in your treatment plan.
Ovarian Cancer Surgical Procedures
During the initial debulking surgery, we may perform a variety of procedures, depending on the type and stage of ovarian cancer, as well as your individual fertility concerns.
These procedures may be done one of two ways: During a laparotomy, an incision is made to open up the abdomen. During a laparascopy, small incisions are made in the abdomen. Your ovarian cancer surgical oncology team will discuss the best approach for you, which may include any of the following:
- Unilateral Salpingo-oophorectomy: Surgical removal of one ovary and one fallopian tube.
- Bilateral Salpingo-oophorectomy: Surgical removal of both ovaries and both fallopian tubes.
- Total Hysterectomy: Surgical removal of the uterus, including the cervix.
- Omentectomy: Surgical removal of part or all of the omentum, a fold of fatty tissue inside the abdomen.
- Bowel Resection: Surgical removal of part of the small or large intestine.
- Diaphragm or Appendix Surgery: Surgical removal of part of all of each organ.
- Lymph Node Biopsy: Surgical removal of part or all of one or more lymph nodes in the abdomen.
- Abdominal Fluid Biopsy: Removal of a fluid sample from the abdomen (if fluid is present) to be sampled and tested. A catheter also may be installed to drain the excess fluid.
Ovarian cancer surgery may be followed by chemotherapy. Often the chemotherapy will be administered directly into the abdominal cavity, known as intraperitoneal chemotherapy. If you are a candidate for this type of chemotherapy, your oncologist will put a thin tube in the abdomen during surgery. Once it heals, chemotherapy treatment will begin.
da Vinci® Surgical System
The da Vinci® Surgical System is a sophisticated robotic surgical platform that offers a minimally invasive alternative to complex surgery. Because it requires only a few tiny incisions and offers greater vision, precision and control for the surgeon, ovarian cancer patients often experience reduced pain, less blood loss, lower risk of infection, less scarring, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery.
Addressing Fertility Concerns
If you want to preserve your fertility, your ovarian cancer surgical oncology team may be able to remove only the affected ovary. Patients battling more complex disease may not be candidates for this option. At CTCA, we will discuss a variety of fertility-sparing procedures with you, including retrieving and freezing your eggs.
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