Ovarian drilling, also known as ovarian diathermy or ovarian electrocautery, is a surgical procedure used to treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. PCOS is characterized by the presence of multiple small cysts on the ovaries, irregular menstrual cycles, and hormonal imbalances.
During ovarian drilling, a surgeon uses heat or laser to puncture the ovarian surface, aiming to reduce the production of androgens (male hormones) and stimulate regular ovulation. The goal is to improve fertility by inducing ovulation and regulating the menstrual cycle.
The effectiveness of ovarian drilling for patients with PCOS can vary. Some studies suggest that it may be successful in inducing ovulation and improving fertility in a significant percentage of women with PCOS. However, the effects may not be long-lasting, and the procedure does carry risks, including the potential for scar tissue formation.
Not all fertility specialists recommend ovarian drilling, and it is typically considered after other, less invasive treatments have failed. Fertility specialists often try other approaches first, such as lifestyle modifications, weight management, ovulation-inducing medications like clomiphene citrate, or assisted reproductive technologies (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Alternatives to ovarian drilling include:
- Lifestyle modifications: Changes in diet, exercise, and weight management can have a positive impact on PCOS symptoms and fertility.
- Ovulation-inducing medications: Fertility drugs, such as clomiphene citrate or letrozole, are commonly used to induce ovulation in women with PCOS.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF): In more severe cases of infertility, where other treatments have not been successful, IVF may be recommended. IVF involves the retrieval of eggs from the ovaries, fertilizing them in a laboratory, and then transferring the embryos to the uterus.
- Laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy: This is a surgical procedure where the cysts on the ovaries are removed, and it may be considered in some cases.
It’s important to note that the choice of treatment depends on individual factors, and fertility specialists tailor their recommendations based on the specific needs and circumstances of each patient. Before undergoing any fertility treatment, it’s crucial for individuals to have a thorough discussion with their healthcare provider to understand the potential risks and benefits of each option.