When an ovarian growth or cyst needs to be closely looked at, a surgeon can do so through a small incision using laparoscopy or through a larger abdominal incision (laparotomy). Either type of surgery can be used to diagnose problems such as ovarian cysts , adhesions, fibroids, and pelvic infection. But if there is any concern about cancer, you may have a laparotomy. It gives the best view of the abdominal organs and the female pelvic organs . Then, if the doctor finds ovarian cancer, he or she can safely remove it.

During surgery, a noncancerous cyst that is causing symptoms can be removed (cystectomy), leaving the ovary intact. In some cases, the entire ovary or both ovaries are removed, particularly when cancer is found.