What is the role of surgical intervention for the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)?

Updated: Sep 19, 2019
  • Author: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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Surgical management of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is aimed mainly at restoring ovulation. Ovarian wedge resection has fallen out of favor because of postoperative adhesion formation and the successful introduction of ovulation-inducing medications.

Various laparoscopic methods, including electrocautery, laser drilling, and multiple biopsy, have been used with the goal of creating focal areas of damage in the ovarian cortex and stroma. According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), laparoscopic ovarian drilling may be considered in women with clomiphene-resistant PCOS, especially in the presence of other laparoscopic indications. [3] A small French study also suggested that surgical management via ovarian drilling with hydrolaparoscopy may be beneficial in cases of PCOS that are resistant to clomiphene citrate. [92]

Potential complications must be considered as well. These include formation of adhesions and ovarian atrophy. Multiple pregnancy rates are lower with ovarian drilling than with gonadotropin treatment (1% vs 16%, respectively), but there are ongoing concerns about the long-term effects of ovarian drilling on ovarian function. [93]

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