Women have their ovaries removed for many reasons, such as endometriosis or to prevent breast or ovarian cancer.
Sarah Bates, 43, a PA from Nottingham, was one of the first Britons to have her ovaries removed through her belly button, as she tells Angela Brooks.
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer last September, it was a terrible shock - there's no history of it in my family.
Doctors said it had been caught early, so I could have a lumpectomy, where just the affected part of the breast is removed, followed by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which ended five months ago.
I'd been told that I had a hormone-sensitive cancer, meaning that the oestrogen made by my ovaries was feeding it.
Apparently it's very common and, to stop the cancer coming back, my oncologist explained that it's best to block the oestrogen being produced by the ovaries in the first place.
He explained that quite often chemotherapy brings on an early menopause, which halts the production of oestrogen. But because I was continuing to have periods, he was concerned that I was still releasing oestrogen and suggested I have my ovaries removed.
Of course, there's never any guarantee the cancer won't come back, but he said this gave me the best possible chance.
There were other less severe options for women who wanted to have more children, such as a jab to stop your ovaries working for two years, after which you could then try for a baby and later have your ovaries removed, or radiotherapy.
But I felt surgery was the best and most reliable choice for me. My husband Bryan and I had only ever wanted one child - our son Alex is now five - and I wanted to do everything in my power to be there for him.
We were also keen to put this awful period in our lives behind us and, for me, going back to hospital every month would have been a continual reminder of what had happened.
My oncologist referred me to his colleague Mr Abu, a consultant gynaecologist.
He explained that the operation was usually done either by open surgery or by keyhole involving three to four incisions, but that he was carrying out a new type of keyhole which could do the whole procedure through just one incision in my tummy button.
It sounded great - one scar meant less pain, less chance of infection and a faster recovery. I agreed to it there and then, as I just wanted it over with as quickly as possible.
My operation, which I had done privately, was scheduled for the first week in May. I was excited about having it done because it felt like it would put this horrible time behind us and we'd be able to start re-building our lives.
The procedure took 90 minutes and I woke up feeling as though I had bad period pain.
But I was still able to get out of bed and move around that evening - I just had a small dressing over my tummy button. Mr Abu visited me the next morning to check the incision; once he was happy with it, I was allowed to go home.
The scar healed perfectly from the start - so much so that I wore a bikini on holiday two weeks after the operation and no one could see any scarring. It was amazing.
I went back to work in early June, but honestly think I could have gone back the week after my operation as I was in no pain.
The only thing that stopped me was that I was tired, not so much from the operation, but from eight months of treatment for my cancer, which takes quite a lot out of you. I'm so pleased with the result - it's wonderful that the cancer has gone and I've got no reminder of it.
Mr Jafaru Abu is consultant gynaecological surgeon and oncologist at City Hospital, Nottingham. He also works at The Park Hospital - part of BMI Healthcare - where Sarah had her operation.
Women have their ovaries and adjoining fallopian tubes removed for many reasons - to treat ovarian cancer or for recurrent benign cysts which can cause pain and worry.
But it can also be carried out as a preventative measure for women with a family history of ovarian or breast cancer, as these two cancers are sometimes caused by the same faulty genes.
Another group of patients, whose cancer is fuelled by oestrogen, often have their ovaries removed to help prevent a recurrence.
But because this rules out any chance of pregnancy in the future, women who haven't completed their family often prefer a monthly jab to put their ovaries to sleep for a couple of years while they overcome the cancer.
However, Sarah and her husband had completed their family, so the surgery was an ideal chance for her to make a fresh start.
Until now, ovary removal, known as oophorectomy, would involve either a large abdominal incision or three or four 1cm incisions across the tummy during keyhole surgery, which would have a recovery time of three weeks.
But a new technique called single-incision laparoscopic surgery means we can make just one small incision around the tummy button and work through that.
It's called scarless surgery because the scar is hidden by the tummy button. But aside from the cosmetic benefits, because there are fewer incisions, it speeds up recovery time and reduces the chance of infection.
Although it's being used in the UK for general surgery such as kidney removal, so far only one other gynaecologist, Mr Tom Ind at the Royal Marsden, is using the technique for gynaecological operations. But I expect many more will begin using it, as it could help many thousands of women every year.
With the patient under general anaesthetic, my first step is to pull the tummy button up so it's slightly proud of the surrounding skin and make a 2cm vertical incision in the middle of it.
Then with forceps we stretch open the incision slightly and insert the instrument holder, or port, into the opening we have made.
Through this port we first insert our camera so we can see what we are doing. Then we inflate the abdomen with carbon dioxide gas to get a proper view inside.
Having inspected the ovaries and fallopian tubes, we begin searching for the blood vessels that supply the ovaries.
The ureters - the tubes that connect the kidney to the bladder - are very close to the vessels we need to seal and cut, so we make sure they are completely out of the way before picking up the vessels.
Then, to remove the ovaries, we use an instrument with a tiny blade between its jaws which also has an electric current running through it; this produces heat to seal the vessels and then cut them off.
With the ovaries and tubes free from their blood supply, and in one piece, we now have to separate them from the uterus in the same way.
We put the ovaries into a bag we have inserted through one of the port holes and then remove all our instruments.
Finally, we pull the bag out of the port. The ovaries are usually small enough to squash down and fit through the incision in the tummy button.
If they were very enlarged because of a cyst, we would drain the fluid off the cyst inside the body to reduce its size before removing it.
Before closing up, I put the camera back in to inspect the surgery site to make sure there is no bleeding and everything looks as it should.
The gas will leak out once we remove the port, and we close the incision with a single stitch under the skin.
Patients who have the operation in the morning can go home later that day; others will have an overnight stay.
It is quite common for patients to get a small amount of discomfort caused by a little carbon dioxide being left in the abdomen. This gas irritates the diaphragm, which has nerves linked to the tip of the shoulder, which is where this pain is usually felt, but the body absorbs this gas within 48 hours.
Patients will be able to drive two or three days after surgery and most should be able to return to work two weeks later. I'm delighted Sarah is so pleased with her outcome.
• The operation costs £4,200 privately. It is available on the NHS in London and in Mr Abu's private practice in Nottingham.
Article written by The Daily Mail.