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What is an Oophorectomy?
Oophorectomy (or ovariectomy) is the surgical removal of an ovary or both ovaries. Removal of a woman's ovaries is the biological equivalent of castration in males.
The term "hysterectomy" is often used to refer to removal of any part of the female reproductive system, including just the ovaries; however, the correct definition of "hysterectomy" is removal of the uterus (or womb) without removal of the ovaries or Fallopian tubes.
Endometriosis and Oophorectomy
Endometriosis can be treated by oophorectomy because it eliminates the menstrual cycle. This reduces the spread of existing endometriosis and reduces the pelvic pain associated with the condition. Endometriosis is an overgrowth of the uterine lining so by removing the ovaries this surgery is usually performed with a hysterectomy to further reduce or eliminate recurrence.
Partial oophorectomy is sometimes used to describe laparoscopic surgery to remove an ovarian cyst or resection parts of the ovaries. By performing just a partial oophorectomy it means that fertility can be preserved although ovarian failure can subsequently occur.
Most of the long term risks and consequences of oophorectomy are not or only partially present with partial oophorectomy.
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