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Prophylactic Surgery

From the GYN Genetics Articles List

Woman talking to her doctor about the reasons she should consider Prophylactic SurgeryWhat is prophylactic surgery and why should I consider it?


A prophylactic surgery is a surgery that is done in order to prevent disease. People with an increased risk of certain types of diseases or cancers may have prophylactic surgery to remove the healthy organ, body part, or tissue which could be affected at a later date. The goal of prophylactic surgery is to stop a disease or cancer before it even begins.

While prophylactic surgery may prevent disease or cancer, there are risks to consider. Besides typical surgery risks which may include bleeding, infection, injury to the surrounding area, reaction to anesthesia or medications, and other complications, there can be physical, mental, and emotional risks involved with removing a healthy body part. If you have other health issues, those can also play a role as to whether or not prophylactic surgery is right for you. As a final point, certain prophylactic surgeries also end fertility, so it is important to consider this aspect and/or plan for alternatives such as postponing surgery, freezing eggs, or using a surrogate.

If you have a strong family history of certain cancer(s) or you have tested positive for specific genetic mutations, you may want to consider various prophylactic surgeries. For instance, if you have tested positive for mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, you may want to discuss a prophylactic mastectomy, prophylactic salpingectomy, prophylactic oophorectomy, and/or prophylactic hysterectomy with a genetic counselor.

When considering prophylactic surgery, it can be helpful to work with a counselor to help you understand the benefits and risks for your current and long term health. Prophylactic surgery should only be done if the benefits outweigh the risks for you. Seeking a second opinion can help ensure you understand your options, give you new perspective, and provide peace of mind regarding your final decision.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

08-16-2014 - 06:52 PM


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