Laparoscopic ovarian drilling is a surgical treatment that can
ovulation in women who have
polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Electrocautery or a
laser is used to destroy parts of the ovaries.
This surgery is not commonly used. But it can be an option for
women who are still not ovulating after losing weight and trying fertility
Ovarian drilling is usually done through a small incision (laparoscopy), with
general anesthesia. The surgeon makes a small cut
(incision) in the abdomen at the belly button. The surgeon then places a tube
to inflate the abdomen with a small amount of carbon dioxide gas so that he or
she can insert the viewing instrument (laparoscope) without damage to the
internal organs. The surgeon looks through the laparoscope at the internal
organs. Surgical instruments may be inserted through the same incision or other
small incisions in the pelvic area.
Because the incisions are so small, laparoscopy is often called
If you have a laparoscopy procedure, you will likely go home the
same day and can do your normal activities within 24 hours. Your return to
normal activities will depend on how quickly you recover from surgery, which
may take a few days or as long as 2 to 4 weeks.
Ovarian drilling is sometimes used for women with PCOS who are
still not ovulating after trying weight loss and fertility medicine. Destroying
part of the ovaries may restore regular ovulation
For women who do not respond to treatment with medicine, such as clomiphene, about 50% of them may be able to become pregnant after they have ovarian drilling surgery.1
Risks of laparoscopy include:
Ovarian drilling may affect the number of eggs you have left or may cause early menopause. Talk to your doctor about these possible risks.1
Ovarian drilling may make your menstrual cycles more regular, but over time they may become irregular again.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
Fritz MA, Speroff L (2011). Induction of ovulation. In
Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th
ed., pp. 1293–1330. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
February 6, 2012
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
& Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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