Unilateral oophorectomy is the removal of an ovary through surgery. If single ovary is removed, a woman may still menstruate and produce children. If both ovaries are removed, menstruation stops and a woman loses the potential of having children.
A German surgeon, Alfred Hegar, was the first physician to perform oophorectomy on July 27, 1872. The oophorectomy-for-cancer was first done by Albert Schinzinger, who first suggested surgical oophorectomy as a treatment for breast cancer. If the National Cancer Institute is to be believed, the prophylactic ovary removal will reduce the risk of new breast cancers by 50%.
Oophorectomies are generally performed on premenopausal women who have estrogen-sensitive breast cancer in an attempt to detach the primary source of estrogen from their bodies. This process is not as common as it was in the 1990s. Today, chemotherapy medications are available that change the production of estrogen and tamoxifen ceases any of the influences any estrogen may have on cancer cells.
Until the 1980s, women above 40 years of age with hysterectomies very often had well functioning ovaries and fallopian tubes removed simultaneously. Many doctors claimed that a woman over 40 was reaching menopause and her ovaries would stop releasing estrogen and eggs. Removing the ovaries would extinguish the risk of ovarian cancer and only enhance menopause by a few years.
In the 1990s, removing the ovaries enhanced and the probability of cardiovascular disease and accentuates osteoporosis unless a woman takes prescribed hormone replacements.
The value of ovary removal in forbidding both breast and ovarian cancer has been documented. However, there are conflicts within the medical community about the period and age this treatment should be conducted. Preventative oophorectomy, also called prophylactic oophorectomy, is often not covered by insurance. A study conducted in 2000 at the University of California at San Francisco discovered that merely 20% of insurers paid for preventive bilateral oophorectomy (PBO). 25% had no policy of making any payment for the operation, and the remaining 55% explained that they would think on an inpidual basis about the payment.
An oophorectomy may be conducted for several reasons:
There could be two types of oophorectomy which may include:
The removal of one ovary is termed a unilateral oophorectomy. After a unilateral oophorectomy, a woman can still menstruate and in return can conceive children.
Bilateral Oophorectomy: The surgery for the removal of both the ovaries is termed as bilateral oophorectomy. After a bilateral oophorectomy, a woman cannot bear a child as she will stop menstruating.: