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Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2002 Dec;57(12):803-9.

Asymptomatic postmenopausal simple ovarian cyst.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20007, USA.


High-resolution transvaginal ultrasound frequently reveals incidental, simple ovarian cysts in asymptomatic postmenopausal women. Traditionally oophorectomy has been recommended for these women. However, evidence is emerging that most postmenopausal simple ovarian cysts are benign, allowing conservative management. Furthermore, many of these cysts will resolve spontaneously. Cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) and color Doppler may help differentiate benign from malignant cysts. When oophorectomy is favored, the laparoscopic approach may be considered, depending on the clinical situation. Nonoperative management of simple ovarian cysts in asymptomatic women is reasonable; regular follow-up with sonography should be performed. Because sonography is an operator-dependent test, it is imperative that the sonographer have expertise in ovarian imaging. Monitoring of CA-125 levels may be useful. Indications for removal during follow-up are increasing size, development of solid components, abnormal Doppler flow, CA-125 elevation, patient desire for removal of the cyst, and noncompliance with sonographic follow-up.


Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Family Physicians


After completion of this article, the reader will be able to estimate the prevalence of benign simple ovarian cysts in a postmenopausal population of women, to describe the natural history of a simple ovarian cyst, and outline the features consistent with a benign ovarian cyst on ultrasound.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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