Ovarian Drilling

Last Updated: May 5, 2018

Definition - What does Ovarian Drilling mean?

Ovarian drilling is a surgical process that may help reduce the complications of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS can have ovaries covered with a hardened shell that produce high levels of the hormone testosterone. This hormone disrupts the ovary’s natural processes, including secretion of female sex hormones and ovulation. As a result, many women with PCOS experiences issues with fertility. Ovarian drilling is a way to reduce the shell that surrounds the ovary, promoting the restoration of the ovarian function.

Ovarian drilling is often used as a second-line treatment for PCOS, after lifestyle modifications and oral medications like Clomid or Letrozole.

Ovarian drilling may also be called laparoscopic ovarian surgery.

FertilitySmarts explains Ovarian Drilling

PCOS is often treated with birth control pills. While the medication helps to offset the negative symptoms of the condition, it also prevents a woman from becoming pregnant. Therefore, women with PCOS who hope to become pregnant require a different approach.

To complete the ovarian drilling procedure, surgeons complete a minimally invasive procedure called a laparoscopy. The laparoscope is a narrow tube with a camera that is inserted into a tiny incision in the abdomen. A camera at the end of the laparoscope allows the surgeon to see the surface of the ovaries. Additional incisions are made and using the camera as a guide, the surgeon makes small openings in the ovarian surface.

As a result, the amount of testosterone being released reduces, and the natural reproductive cycle is able to resume. Ovarian drilling procedure is a permanent solution that does not require repeating. However, it does not work for all women. Some may never regain standard menstruation or ovulation, while others may still require fertility treatment in order to conceive. The procedure is also being used less often than it used to.

While chances are minimal, it is possible that the laparoscope could damage the bowel, blood vessels, and bladder. Additionally, an error made during the procedure can damage the ovary, causing premature menopause. Scarring on the ovaries can also produce inflammation and irritation that complicates pregnancy or conception.

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