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Having Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling to Treat PCOS


Updated June 10, 2014

Question: Having Laparoscopic Ovarian Drilling to Treat PCOS

Ovarian drilling is another surgical method, in addition to Ovarian Wedge Resection, that physicians have used to treat Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The theory is similar to that of Ovarian Wedge Resection; by destroying ovarian tissue and reducing androgen production, you can better manage symptoms. This procedure is not frequently used anymore due to the risk of ovarian scarring, so make sure to get a second opinion and exhaust all other treatment options (like weight loss and medications) before proceeding.

The procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis, so you will go home the same day. The surgeon will make a small incision in your lower abdomen and insert a small camera which is linked with a monitor. Sometimes gas is used to inflate the abdomen so that the surgeon can better visualize the abdominal organs. Another incision allows the surgeon to place special instruments in the abdominal cavity to perform the actual procedure. Then the surgeon will destroy a small portion of the ovary using either a laser or cautery.

Risks of this procedure include bleeding, development of adhesions or scar tissue on your pelvic organs, pain and infection. Pregnancy rates range from 30% to 85%. A few studies have shown that success rates are higher in women within the normal range for BMI or Body Mass Index. In most cases, the risks of ovarian damage and other complications do not outweigh the benefits of the surgery. Make sure to discuss the procedure and the associated risks and benefits with your doctor before having surgery.


Thatcher, Samuel S. "PCOS: The Hidden Epidemic." Indianapolis: Perspectives Press, 2000. p. 347-348.

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