What is Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy?

Counseling is strongly recommended for women who undergo a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.
A patient is usually given general anesthesia before a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.
The female reproductive system.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2014
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A bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is a surgery in which both a woman's ovaries are removed, along with the fallopian tubes. This surgery is used primarily to treat gynecological cancers such as ovarian, fallopian, and uterine cancer, although it is used in the treatment of some other gynecological conditions as well. One of the major consequences of this surgery is that the woman becomes infertile, and she also stops producing a variety of hormones, which triggers the onset of menopause.

This surgery is usually only recommended in cases where it is really needed, because of the very serious consequences. In addition to being included in the treatment plan for some cancers, the procedure is sometimes also recommended in the case of severe infections related to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), or in patients with extreme endometriosis. The gynecological or general surgeon who performs the procedure will usually discuss the issues involved and all of the available options with the patient before scheduling the surgery.

Depending on the surgeon, a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy can be performed laproscopically, or as an open surgery. In both cases, the patient is given general anesthesia for the procedure, and the incisions are made in the lower abdomen after sterilizing the area. The surgeon must be careful to remove every piece of the ovaries and tubes, especially in the case of a cancer, and then the incisions will be closed and the patient will be moved to recovery.

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As with other abdominal surgeries, aftercare involves rest to allow the incisions to heal. Replacement hormones may also be prescribed to mitigate the symptoms of menopause, especially when the surgery is performed on a young woman. Although this surgery reduces the risk of breast cancer, regular checkups for breast cancer and signs of gynecological cancers are strongly recommended after bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, especially if the patient had cancer at the time of the surgery.

Patients with cancer may also need to take chemotherapy and radiation treatments to ensure that the cancer is kept dormant, and a follow-up biopsy may be requested so that the surgeon can be confident that the cancer was fully excised. If the patient remains free of signs of cancer for a set period of time, she may be declared to be in remission.

This surgery can be emotionally traumatic. Surgical infertility and menopause can be very distressing, especially in younger women who were planning on having children. Psychological support including counseling is strongly recommended for patients who undergo a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, and patients sometimes also benefit from membership in support groups, and support from friends and family during recovery.

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anon957410
Post 38

I had my BSO last week. I went to the hospital at 6:00 in the morning. At 7:30 am they did the procedure. By 10:00 am it was done. I stayed in the hospital until 12:10 pm and went home. I'm so thankful because I haven't felt any pain until now.

anon939986
Post 37

I am 62. I had a bilateral salpingo-opphorectomy in Janaury 2014 due to a 20cm cyst on my left ovary. The cyst was pressing on my bladder which made me pee every 20 minutes. I had a laproscopy and spent two days in hospital. I felt fit and ready to leave the hospital after 24 hours but had to stay another day to make sure my bladder was working fine. I have four little scars - belly button, on bikini line and two on either side of my stomach. I am not allowed to drive or lift heavy things for about a week. The results were negative for cancer.

I found the experience a piece of cake. The only worry was waiting for the pathology results. I received the news from my surgeon by email five days after the op.

expom1978
Post 36

I am due to have this operation within the next three weeks as I have a massive tumor attached to both my ovaries. I am not scared and cannot wait to get it over and done with. Although I know I am going to be in a fair bit of pain post op, I am positive I will make a full recovery.

I am happy to read all the positive comments from the ladies on this site, and to those of you that are still recovering, get well soon. Also for those women who are fearful of having the operation, don't be. Think how well you will feel when you are fully recovered. I wish you all well.

anon346331
Post 35

I am 58 and it will be two years in November I had my Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy due to Stage I uterine cancer. The entire procedure took 45 minutes just like my doctor told me and I went home seven hours after the surgery! I had it done laparosopically.

Please don't let some horror stories of others scare you. Everyone's body is different and reacts differently. Yes, I have some hot flashes now and then and my skin is a bit drier but that's it. Everything is the same with me in all areas! A positive attitude will help you with your recovery and understanding our bodies are always changing, whether we have surgery or not.

anon336282
Post 34

I had BSO last year at age 87. No problems. Piece of cake.

anon333628
Post 33

I had my Bilateral Oophorectomy in April 2013. My doctor planned on doing it laparoscopically, but the tumor on my left ovary was large. My doctor had to open me to remove it, and it went from a one hour surgery to a 3.5 hour surgery. He said it was impossible to do it laparoscopically and difficult to do open.

I have no regrets. It was just more than I planned for and a longer recovery time. Tomorrow is two weeks, and I'm still sore and taking it easy. My energy level is low, but I'm coming back slowly. It's hard to believe two weeks ago I was working, working out, just active and now I sit more than anything. I can't wait to get my routine back. The hormone replacement therapy is probably what scares me the most, but I'm more scared not to do it.

anon329922
Post 32

I am due to have a BSO in 10 days. I have a nine inch cyst on my right ovary and a smaller cyst on my left ovary. My C-125 blood levels are raised, so it's a worrying time. How long is the recovery? I would love to hear from anyone in a similar position.

anon312926
Post 31

I'm 34 and we have a massive history of ovarian cancer in the family. My aunt, grandmother and one woman in every generation before them has passed away from it before they turned 55. I've had three children and worry a lot that I may develop this cancer too.

Should I opt for a BSO? I am worried about the onset of menopause, etc. What do you think?

anon283330
Post 30

I am 55 years old and the doctor has wants me to have a laproscopic BSO to remove a 7 cm cyst on my ovary.

I was wondering if anyone has had only one ovary removed instead of both.

anon262751
Post 29

I am 49 years old. I had a partial laparoscopic hysterectomy in March 2012. I suffered from heavy periods that eventually landed me in the hospital critically anemic in January 2012. I needed four blood transfusions.

The doctors found a large fibroid tumor in my uterus. They removed it during the first surgery and then the pathology reports showed a rare form of cancer called endometrial stromal sarcoma. Several days ago, I had the Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy. I stayed in the hospital for three nights. It is a difficult recovery. I have not gotten the pathology report results yet.

anon176355
Post 28

i had a uterine cancer at 36, and had a hysterectomy, but was left with my ovaries. I found out i am estrogen positive and the ovaries have to go as well.

With chemo i had a taste of the menopause and came out of it shortly as treatment stopped. My doctor is insisting on my ovaries being removed ASAP. He said i should not feel any different that I did before. I gained 6 pounds and cannot get rid of it that easy. Did any of you have a weight battle and how did your body change? Thank you.

anon162070
Post 27

I had prophylactic BLSO via open surgery in early March, and following a breast cancer diagnosis in September 2008.

I also have the BRCA 2 gene inherited breast cancer gene from my mum, who died at 39 from advanced breast cancer. I was 13 at that time. I have also had prophylactic bilateral mastectomies and reconstruction with implants. I asked for genetic screening on several occasions via my GP surgery and this was not supported by them and told"just because your mother had breast cancer, doesn't mean to say that you will." How wrong they were! With a BRCA 2 gene, a prophylactic outcome is strongly advised, but it would have been so much less traumatic and cost effective to have been screened prior to diagnosis, surgery, chemo radiotherapy, mastectomies reconstructions. That isn't that great, and now finally this. Not to mention ongoing scans and trauma to my life and that of my family.

I have thankfully got a great employer who has supported me all the way and I have been able to go back to work on a phased basis each time. I a currently recovering and have a chest infection that is causing me additional discomfort that I could do without, but I am here to tell the tale!

I value my life so much more and my message is: always insist on more than your GP orders. They are not specialists and if they refuse you a referral, ask them to write that they refuse. I am making a complaint to mine about my situation in the hope that it does not happen to anyone else. After all early screening saves lives, doesn't it?

anon151704
Post 26

I had a BSO - open surgery - in January. This was because of ovarian and breast cancer family history - geneticist and breast surgeon recommended this and gynaecologist fortunately agreed.We had hoped for laparoscopic surgery but no go - and a large ovarian cyst was found anyway. I had had no idea regarding this. I am 70 and so not bouncing back as quickly as I would like - but just have to be patient. Had four nights in hospital.

I definitely need help at home. I have to rest and be careful even when I feel better. I am still working but don't think I will be back there for another few weeks.

I am sore and tired but am glad I had the op. My Mum died of ovarian cancer and I have had one year clear of breast cancer. Loads of other family history too - all on my Mum's side.

Obviously, laparoscopic surgery is preferable - a one night stay I was told - but it was not to be.

I feel very lucky that this surgery was offered on the NHS - we are so fortunate in this country.

anon146126
Post 25

I am 29 years old and I am due to have a BLSO the first week of February. I'm having this surgery because I have the BRCA2 gene and am doing it for precaution's sake. I just want to know what I should expect pre-op, in the few hours before surgery.

anon144546
Post 24

I had blso three days ago. Spent two nights in hospital and am now home, rather sore and tired but able to care for myself. I am planning on going back to work in a week's time.

anon140861
Post 23

I have been trying to get a hysterectomy for three years now. I'm 32 and am told I'm too young, but i have had seven children and suffer extremely heavy, long and painful periods, pains that put me to my knees, whilst i'm running around after my children, the youngest of whom has Autism and is into everything he can get into! Fun, but hard work.

Now i have heard about BSO, i am more interested in having this done. Shorter recovery time, much better than a hysterectomy. But as i haven't been "diagnosed" anything in particular, what do you think my chances are if i ask my gyn center?

anon134037
Post 22

I was also 31 when I had this procedure done, due to endometrial cancer. Mine was done within days of diagnosis and the surgeon used a vertical abdominal incision because all my internal organs had to be biopsied. It was traumatic for sure.

I wish they had directed me to some psychological support. It was necessary and saved my life and I don't regret it. No monthly cycle is a nice side effect.

anon131553
Post 21

I am 34 years old, had a partial hysterectomy at 30 and am now six days pre-op for the BSO. At any given time, I have five to seven cysts that range in size from one to four cm. I'm simply tired of being in so much pain. The chronic pain and pain meds have altered my personality. I am looking forward to the day that I am not in pain around the clock. I am ready to get my life back.

anon111718
Post 20

I had a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy seven years ago when I was 45. Great doctor, no scar at all, even though he cut me from one side to the other. I had a 12 cm tumor and cyst on one ovary, so he took it all. Recovery took a long time, about eight weeks. I have felt great ever since.

One thing my doctor did not explain: lots of cellulite appeared on my thighs, stomach and upper arms about two weeks after surgery and it's been a battle to keep it off. Another friend said cellulite appeared two days after her surgery! Used Femring for hormones for five years, but I went off and had to have two breast cysts removed. Now I take cinnamon capsules for the hot flashes. My sex drive is stronger now than before the surgery!

anon109601
Post 19

- anon79789 Please do not be a fearmonger. Just because it hasn't worked for you doesn't mean it won't work for others.

I have had it done and have looked after myself, so no weight gain. I'm more sexed now than i was!

anon108530
Post 18

Next month I am supposed to have this surgery. From the beginning I couldn't and don't understand why my doctor is doing it while I am getting my bladder lifted. I am 67 years of age, never had a bad pap and all my mammograms were great. after reading these comments, I am changing my mind and just going to get the bladder lift. This doctor has taken away trust now and I feel I should also change doctors.

anon84770
Post 17

I had bilateral salpingo oophorectomy surgery and I am still having the exact same pain. Had a ct scan and the results show that I still have my ovaries. I am really shocked and want to know the real truth.

anon79789
Post 16

Under no circumstances, except for cancer, should you let a doctor convince you to have your ovaries removed or a hysterectomy.

You will not be able to enjoy a normal sex life due to loss of hormones, loss of sensation from nerves and blood vessels being cut, loss of the upper third of your vagina. None of this can be repaired.

Your health will suffer immensely. Your vision and hearing will suffer, you will gain huge amounts of weight, your bones will become brittle.

I had a total hysterectomy two years ago without informed consent due to a border line (non cancerous) ovarian tumor.

There was absolutely no reason to remove anything but the tumor and ovary, but leave it to doctors to butcher women because in their eyes we aren't worth crap if we are healthy and happy.

The true term is female castration. Don't delude yourself into thinking it's anything but that.

anon77236
Post 15

I had a laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy along with a bilateral salpingo oopharectomy in February. In the beginning moving around was hard but I am six weeks post-op and getting stronger every day.

The joy of knowing that all of the pain I had to go through every month is behind me gives me the strength to go forward.

I am 47 years old and will tell all of you that if your doctor has recommended it, have it done.

Put God first and he will definitely see you through it all. Good luck to all of you.

anon73492
Post 14

I have severe menstrual migraine headaches. For those that have had the bso, does it relieve the headaches?

anon66448
Post 13

I had laparoscopic a few days ago. Went in to surgery 7:30 a.m. and was being discharged by 1:00 p.m.

I am 53, a four year beast cancer survivor, had hysterectomy six months before diagnosed with breast cancer. Kept ovaries to avoid surgical menopause. Now had ovaries removed due to cysts on both ovaries and worry over ovarian cancer. Surgery was a breeze. I was shopping at Walmart and Sam's club next morning. No hot flashes, no pain, no second thoughts at all.

anon65248
Post 12

I too am scheduled for a hysterectomy. I have heavy periods and fibroids and they are going to try and do it laparoscopically and also want to do a BSO as you are talking about.

I'm scared of anesthesia and everything they say goes with it. I'm 48 and have been putting this off for eight years. I just want to know that I will be fine, I guess. I have had my gall bladder out and three c-sections, but was awake for those. For the gallbladder I was asleep.

Well i will put myself in God's and the surgeon's hands. That's all I can do. Too bad I am not going through menopause or I would not do this.

Thanks, Teresa

anon64310
Post 11

I had a blso Jan 15 and am still healing but feeling stronger everyday. It turned out I had a large benign tumor on the ovary (a little larger than grapefruit size). The surgery went very well and the outcome was even better!(terrified it was ovarian cancer) You will be very tired and sore, rest as much as you can. Good luck to you.

anon60575
Post 10

I am 67 and am scheduled for a bilateral oopharectomy next week. It will not be able to be done laparoscopically. I am wondering about the recovery time?

anon54426
Post 9

Dear jibberish: I just had mine done two weeks ago due to an 11 cm hemorrhagic cyst. Mine was done from a bikini cut due to the fact I had so much endo and adhesions from past surgeries from the time I was 16 years old.

I am now 27 years old and I am left with a bladder and I feel like Madea off of the Tyler Perry movies. I have awful mood swings even with replacement shots. Mine came back fine from pathology and I have found that not many of these types are cancer, but mine ruptured along with my ovary on the OR table. That is the big trouble with them.

Also once you have one they always come back. I had one 7 cm removed in July; here it is Nov. and I already had a 11cm again. I wouldn't worry -- just let them take care of it and get plenty of rest. the surgery is not that bad and neither is the recovery.

It is the replacement therapy and my age doesn't help either. I only stayed one night in the hospital and was walking within two hours surgery.

anon52822
Post 8

Had mine done last Tuesday for a 6 cm nonfunctional complex cyst on one ovary and tumor on the left. Same day surgery, done robotically. I went into surgery at 3 p.m. and was being discharged at 7 p.m. to go home. I went back to work Monday. Surgery was totally worth it, it is great to be pain free. I am 46 so was put on ERT but I have absolutely no regrets.

anon52551
Post 7

I am scheduled for this surgery next month. My uterus is full of fibroids. Two are calcifying and one is pressing against the bladder.

I was surprised to see this site says ovaries are removed - what about the uterus? Wondering if the doctor's office wrote it incorrectly? I am 54 and post menopausal so no problem there. Glad to see the post on good recovery!

anon48871
Post 6

I had a laperscopic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy last Friday. The complex neoplasm turned out to be a ovarian fibroma. Only 4 percent of neoplasms are of this kind, but these are mostly also beneign, thank heavens. The recovery has been easy. I'm doing just about everything (except any lifting or exercising) only at a slower pace and I do sit down and rest during the day, but I'm driving, cooking, food shopping, etc. By the way I'm 68, so need for hormone treatment. Will see my doctor in two weeks and will get the final report. But of all the things I've had done over the years - this was breeze except for the worry and angst by my family and me before the procedure. Take care. LB

anon39826
Post 5

Freelance, to answer your question about waiting for bilateral salpingo oophorectomy surgery I just had mine done two weeks ago. I will say there is nothing to fear. Just pray and put everything in God's hands and pray and bless the doctors will touch you and have faith and trust. I am recovering well following the doctor's instructions. Believe you me, after the procedure you will be free from pain except that of course there will be some pains after surgery that you will need some support and help from your family and friends but there is nothing to be scared about. I thank God every day.

I wish you good luck and speed recovery after surgery and I will pray for you. --cgayle

anon34315
Post 4

I am 8 days post-op for a bilateral salpingo oophorectomy. I am 53yo and was peri-menopausal.

My surgery was done due to a questionable cyst present on my left ovary. I am very grateful that my GYN could do the surgery laproscopically.

I came home after same-day surgery. I was up and moving around without any pain meds the same day. I am taking it slowly, but do many things around the house. I still get tired easily.

Good luck. I'll tell you, I was very scared going into surgery. The fear of the unknown can drive you crazy. The surgery was not bad; laproscopic.

freelance
Post 3

I am a 50 year awaiting hospital date to have a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. I have a complex 5cm cyst on ovary and blocked fallopian tube. Has anyone else had this done? Should i be worried, seems a drastic surgery for a cyst? Also won't be able to take HRT for the surgical menopause that follows, as my mum has had breast cancer,any advice would be welcome. Don't know what to expect, so scared!!!

crayfish
Post 2

I'm scheduled for a blso and need to get back to work 4 days post op. What are my chances? I'm post menopause and this is not a big deal to me. Thanks!

jibberish
Post 1

I have had a simple ovarian cyst, now it has turned into a complex hemorrhagic cyst. My Gyno didn't really give me much of an option other than to surgically remove both ovaries and tubes. Is there something he's not telling me?

How big of a surgery is this and what is the hospital stay?

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