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Understanding Unilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy

Female pelvis showing reproductive structures.  Dotted lines show removal of Fallopian tubes and ovaries.

A unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is a type of surgery. During the surgery, a surgeon removes one ovary and one fallopian tube from your pelvis. The ovaries are located on either side of the uterus. They make your eggs (ova). They also make the hormone estrogen. The fallopian tubes link the ovaries to the uterus. They carry the ova to the uterus.

You can still have children after you have this procedure. You have one ovary and fallopian tube left.

How to say it

sal-PING-goh-oh-oh-fuh-REK-tuh-mee

Why unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is done

This procedure is done if you have cancer in an ovary or fallopian tube. Or you may have it to lower your risk for cancer in these parts of the body. You are at high risk if you have a family member who had ovarian or breast cancer. You may also have a mutation in the breast cancer susceptiblity (BRCA) genes. These genes make tumor suppressor proteins. If these genes are mutated, they do not work as they should and cells are more likely to develop cancer.

This procedure may also be done if you have your uterus removed. This is called a hysterectomy.  Other health problems may call for taking out an ovary and fallopian tube at the same time.

How unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is done

You will check into a hospital. You may need to spend a few days there after this surgery. During the procedure:

  • You are given medicine to make you fall asleep. You won’t feel any pain.

  • The surgeon makes a cut (incision) in your belly to reach your reproductive organs.

  • The surgeon removes the ovary and fallopian tube.

  • The surgeon then ties and stitches up all open wounds. The cut in the abdomen is closed up.

Risks of unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy

  • Stomach cancer

  • Bleeding

  • Infection

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