If you’ve been diagnosed with cervical cancer, you may have been advised to undergo a unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. This procedure is most commonly recommended when cancer is found in the ovaries or fallopian tubes, including situations in which cervical cancer has spread to these organs. Sometimes, it is performed at the same time as a hysterectomy (a procedure to remove the uterus).
What to expect from a unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy
Your surgical plan will depend on several factors, including:
- Where your cancer is located
- The size of the tumor (or tumors) and their cellular makeup
- Whether you have previously had any other lower abdominal surgeries
- Your age and weight
Either your left or right ovary and fallopian tube may be removed during a unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. The term "unilateral" means one side; when both fallopian tubes and ovaries are removed, the procedure is called a bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.
If you have one fallopian tube removed, you may retain partial function of your ovaries. This means that you may be able to have children after your unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy.
This procedure can be performed with a traditional or minimally invasive approach. A laparoscopic (minimally invasive) unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy is performed using a small abdominal incision and miniature camera. Recovery times following minimally invasive procedures are usually shorter, although traditional surgery may be a more appropriate option for other reasons.
Discuss your treatment options with a gynecologic oncologist
At Moffitt Cancer Center, you can consult with surgical oncologists who exclusively treat cancers of the female reproductive system. These oncologists can help you determine if surgery is the best option for your specific diagnosis and, if so, which procedure can provide the best outcome and quality of life. If you do decide to undergo a unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (or any other surgical procedure for cervical cancer), you can also consult with our experienced supportive care specialists, who can help you prepare for life after treatment.