What are the surgical treatment options available for ovarian cancer patients?

Surgery is known to be one of the main treatments for ovarian cancer. The extent of surgery depends on the spread of cancer. For women who are of the childbearing age and who have the cancer detected at the earliest stage, it might be possible to treat the cancer without removing the ovaries and the uterus. The treatment method of surgery for ovarian cancer has 3 main categories, staging laparotomy, interval cytoreduction, and debulking.

Staging Laparotomy

This process is done by laparotomy, which is a vertical incision in the abdomen that is large enough to allow the surgeon to look at the cancerous tissue inside the body. This also leads to the removal of the uterus which is a surgical procedure known as a hysterectomy. Along with the removal of the uterus, the ovaries and fallopian tube is removed and is known as bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy or BSO. Another procedure known as an omentectomy is also done which is the removal of the omentum, as ovarian cancer spreads to this area as well.

If fluid is found in the pelvic or abdominal cavity, the doctor will extract the fluid, send it for laboratory tests to check for cancer cells and wash the area with saline water.

The main goals of this surgery include determining how far the cancer had spread, obtaining an accurate surgical staging and diagnosis.

Interval Cytoreduction

This is also known as a follow-up surgery and is done for women whose cancer responds to chemotherapy which includes the procedures of laparotomy and laparoscopy. The same surgical protocols are followed as in staging laparotomy.


Debulking is known as the procedure that involves the removal of as much of the cancerous tumor as possible. This procedure is very important when the cancer has spread throughout the abdomen at the time of the surgery. The main goal of the debulking procedure is to leave behind no visible cancer. The procedure is also done to ensure that there is no recurrent cancer and to also ensure the removal of cancer symptoms.

Cytoreductive Surgery (CRS) with HIPEC

This type of surgery usually performed in very advanced and recurrent ovary case. In this method, maximum removal of disease done followed by installation of hot water along with chemotherapy drug inside the abdominal cavity (HIPEC). HIPEC is performed with the help of a machine.

See more on treatment for ovarian cancer here

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