Ovarian cyst

March 2017


Definition


Ovarian cysts correspond to the development of abnormal growth in ovarian tissue. There are two types of cysts:
- so-called functional cysts that develop in women of reproductive age during the ovarian cycle: they are due to the transformation of an ovarian follicle or a remnant of a follicle having pushed an egg into the fallopian tube. This type of cyst usually regresses at the end of the cycle and is always benign;
- "Organic" cysts, which mainly affect older women: these cysts do not regress, are mild in most cases, but are potentially cancerous.

Symptoms


Ovarian cysts are usually painless: they are asymptomatic cysts. However, they can cause some light symptoms:
- lower abdominal pain, pelvic pain;
- bleeding, uterine bleeding occurring outside of menstruation;
- sensation of pelvic heaviness, heaviness in the abdomen ...
In the case of more sever signs, a complication may be suspected and an emergency appointment is necessary, especially to avoid an adnexal torsion, i.e. a rotation of the ovary unto itself due to the weight of the cyst, which causes severe pain and may be responsible for the loss of function of the ovary.

Diagnosis


Ovarian cysts are often discovered incidentally as they are overwhelmingly asymptomatic. If symptoms are present, an ultrasound will be done. According to the appearance and size of the cyst, a radiologist can judge whether it is a functional cyst or an organic cyst. In case of doubt, further investigation is needed, including surgical exploration.

Treatment


In the case of a suspected functional cyst, a simple monitoring of the evolution of the cyst is performed with a new ultrasound in three months. The cyst will generally disappear spontaneously during this time. If not, the establishment of a treatment is developed. This will consist of the removal of the cyst surgically. In general, it is performed laparoscopically, which avoids a large incision. The procedure is performed with instruments introduced through a small opening, and the display is provided using a mini camera sent through another small hole. However, it is sometimes necessary to make a wider opening. The cyst is then analyzed to determine its nature.
Note that in case of severe pain and discovery of adnexal torsion, emergency surgery is performed so as to untwist the ovary and assess the state of the tissue: if the ovary in question doesn't regain color, it should be removed: this is called oophorectomy.

Related

Original article published by . Translated by Jeff.
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