Ovarian Drilling

What is Ovarian Drilling?

Ovarian drilling is a surgical procedure that can be used as a treatment for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) who are experiencing fertility issues. PCOS is a common hormonal disorder that can cause infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods and excess male hormone (androgen) levels. The ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs.

Ovarian drilling, sometimes referred to as laparoscopic ovarian diathermy, is a minimally invasive surgical technique. It involves making small holes in the ovaries to restore regular ovulation.

The Procedure

Ovarian drilling is typically done under general anesthesia as part of a laparoscopic surgery, which involves making a small incision near the navel. A laparoscope (a thin tube with a camera) is inserted to guide the procedure. Using a surgical instrument, the surgeon then makes a few tiny holes in the surface of each ovary. This is usually done using either a laser or electrocautery, which utilizes high-frequency electric current.

How it Works

The rationale behind ovarian drilling is to reduce the ovarian androgen production, which can encourage the ovaries to resume regular ovulation. By making small holes in the ovarian follicles, the amount of androgens produced by the ovaries is decreased, which can help to restore normal ovulation cycles.

Indications for Ovarian Drilling

Ovarian drilling is considered a treatment option for women with PCOS who:

  • Have not responded to fertility drugs like clomiphene (Clomid) or metformin.
  • Are not suitable candidates for or have not succeeded with in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Benefits and Risks


  • May restore regular ovulation for some women with PCOS, improving their chances of pregnancy.
  • Considered less invasive than some other fertility treatments.
  • May reduce the need for fertility medications.


  • As with any surgical procedure, there are risks, including infection, bleeding, or damage to the bowel, bladder, or nearby organs.
  • There is a risk of developing scar tissue on the ovaries.
  • May not be effective for all women with PCOS, and some may still require fertility treatments.


The recovery time for ovarian drilling is usually short. Most women can return to normal activities within a few days after the procedure.