Ovarian Drilling for PCOS
One procedure that can stimulate ovulation in women who have the common infertility-causing condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is laparoscopic ovarian drilling. Ovarian drilling is a surgical treatment in which electrocauterization or lasers are used to destroy selected parts of a woman's ovaries.
The surgery is not yet in common use, though it may be an option for women with PCOS who want to conceive and have already tried medication and weight loss.
The drilling is done through a small incision known as a laparoscopy. You will be given a general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make a small cut in the area of your navel. Then a tube is inserted into the abdomen, which is inflated with a minute amount of carbon dioxide gas. This helps your doctor to insert the laparoscope, an instrument that enables him to see your internal organs. Through the incision, the doctor can also insert surgical instruments. Sometimes, more than one small incision is necessary to perform the procedure. The incisions are so tiny that laparoscopy is sometimes termed "Band-aid surgery."
With laparoscopy, you may be able to return home the day of your surgery. You may be able to resume your regular activities within 24 hours, though complete recovery can take a few days or as long as 2-4 weeks.
Restores Ovulation Cycles
This surgical procedure has been shown to restore ovulation cycles in women with PCOS. Studies show that ovarian drilling in women with PCOS results in an ovulation rate of 80%, with a 50% rate for pregnancy. These statistics are based on data gathered on some 1000 women.
The best candidates for this surgery are younger women with a normal body mass index (BMI).
As with all surgery, laparoscopic ovarian drilling carries risks, including:
Abdominal pain due to the inflation of the abdomen with carbon dioxide gas
Reactions to anesthesia
Infection or bleeding at the site of the incision
Scarring or adhesions
Injury or damage to major blood vessels or internal organs resulting from the laparoscope or from surgical instruments used during surgery
There have, as yet, been no proper, randomized controlled trials done to study the procedure's effects on stimulating ovulation in women with PCOS. No live birth rates, the standard of any successful fertility treatment, are available at this point, though it is believed that the procedure results in live births 50% of the time.