What are the benefits of elective salpingo-oophorectomy?

Updated: Feb 06, 2018
  • Author: Stacie M Ward, MD; Chief Editor: Christine Isaacs, MD  more...
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Best Practices

The number of salpingo-oophorectomies performed as elective procedures are decreasing. [1] At this time, there is inconclusive evidence of the benefits versus the risks of undergoing an elective salpingo-oophorectomy in women who are not at increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. The lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer in women who have no additional risk factors is 1 in 71. [2] A bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy has been demonstrated to decrease this risk; for every 220 bilateral salpingo-oophorectomies performed, one case of ovarian cancer will be prevented.

However, the decreased risk of developing ovarian cancer needs to be weighed against the effects of decreased hormone levels after salpingo-oophorectomy. [3] The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommendations state, “Strong consideration should be given to retaining normal ovaries in premenopausal women who are not at increased genetic risk of ovarian cancer.” [4]

Patients with known BRCA mutations, hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, invasive ovarian, or endometrial cancer are not candidates for ovarian conservation. [4] In BRCA -positive patients, the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is 20-50%; a prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy decreases the risk of developing ovarian cancer by 80-90%. [4]

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