Understanding the Procedure for PCOS Surgery

While surgery was once the primary treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), it is extremely rare today, as surgery has the potential to damage the ovaries. Before considering surgery, other medical treatments should be attempted. These include weight management, oral contraception, spironolactone, and symptom management. Surgery to treat fertility issues from PCOS is only considered once other treatments are no longer effective or tolerated.

This article discusses surgery options for PCOS and their risks.

Doctor comforting patient in office
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Treating PCOS With Surgery

The only surgical intervention used to treat PCOS: is laparoscopic ovarian drilling. Laparoscopic ovarian drilling uses electrocautery or a laser to destroy parts of the ovary. By destroying areas of the ovary, ovulation can be triggered.

There have been circumstances where some women have had regular menstrual cycles in the months following surgery and even some pregnancies. Generally speaking, the risk of adhesions or scar tissue on the ovary is far greater than the percentage of women who achieved a pregnancy after ovarian drilling.


As with any surgery, there are risks. Besides the risks associated with anesthesia, lower abdominal pain, bleeding, damage or scarring of the reproductive organs, and infection can occur following either procedure. To minimize these risks, select a doctor who has a lot of experience performing this procedure.

Before considering surgery, have a long discussion with your healthcare provider about why they feel surgery is appropriate. You should also ask your doctor what their experience using ovarian drilling is, how many times they've done the procedure, and what the success rates are.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. National Health Service. Treatment: polycystic ovary syndrome.

  2. Lebbi I, Ben temime R, Fadhlaoui A, Feki A. Ovarian drilling in PCOS: is it really useful?. Front Surg. 2015;2:30. doi:10.3389/fsurg.2015.00030

By Nicole Galan, RN
Nicole Galan, RN, is a registered nurse and the author of "The Everything Fertility Book."