Procedure, Recovery & Complications of Laparoscopic Cystectomy

Submitted by Nic on March 14, 2013

Laparoscopic cystectomy is a procedure used to treat bladder cancer and remove ovarian cysts. In cases, where the bladder functions abnormally or when there is incontinence due to paraplegia or infection of the catheter; laparoscopic cystectomy may be performed as well.


The procedure of laparoscopic cystectomy uses small cuts to remove the bladder. In women, the bladder is removed through the vaginal walls whereas for men, bladder is removed through a cut in the abdomen and with the prostate gland. Once the bladder is removed, the ureters or the tubes that carry the urine from the kidney to the bladder may be reconnected to an external bag outside the body. In some cases, parts of the bowel may be used to construct an artificial bladder.

Laparoscopic cystectomy is also used to remove ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts are fluid or substance filled sacs that develop in or on the ovaries. While some cysts are benign or small enough to be ignored, there are cases where cysts become too big and interfere with the normal functioning of a woman’s reproductive system. Multiple cysts are also a symptom of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) – a condition that requires medical treatment and careful monitoring of symptoms as it can affect fertility and cause pain and bleeding. In fact of the three treatment alternatives to treat PCOS (hysterectomy, oophorectomy and cystectomy) a cystectomy is usually always preferred. Apart from being less invasive it does not remove the uterus, affect fertility, or cause hormonal changes such as early menopause.

A laparoscopic cystectomy to remove ovarian cysts is a minor surgical procedure and generally lasts for less than an hour. General anesthesia is administered and a thin tube known as a laparoscope is introduced through a small cut or cuts made in the abdomen. A fiber optic camera and various surgical tools may be inserted via the laparoscope in order to perform the cystectomy. Carbon dioxide gas is also introduced into the abdominal cavity to make more room to work. The surgeon will detect the cyst through the camera attached to the laparoscope and remove it if it is small and unconnected to the ovarian tissue. In cases of larger cysts, a more invasive form of surgery and cyst removal is required.


Recovery time for a laparoscopic cystectomy will depend on various factors such as a person’s age, his or her overall health, and the size and number of cysts removed. On an average, it can take up to two weeks for complete recovery for such a procedure. Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs can help to relieve discomfort and pain that can occur post the procedure. On the whole, a laparoscopic cystectomy causes less postoperative pain and enables a quicker return to normal routine than a laparotomy (open surgery). It also requires a shorter hospital stay and better cosmetic results.


As with any other medical procedure, a laparoscopic cystectomy carries with it a certain degree of risk. Side effects such as pain during the recovery period can be managed with painkillers. Other medications may be required to treat other problems such as excessive bleeding, infections, or reactions to the anesthesia used. In terms of laparoscopic ovarian cystectomies, there is a risk of injury to the ovaries and damage to the fallopian tubes or womb. It is important to be informed about the procedure and the risks involved before going ahead with this or any type of medical tests. The surgeon performing the procedure should also have enough experience to ensure that lesser complications occur.

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