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J Obstet Gynaecol. 2003 Nov;23(6):599-606.

Is ovarian surgery effective for androgenic symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome?

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University Division of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National Women's Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.


The effectiveness of laparoscopic ovarian drilling for treatment of anovulation in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) has been proved. The role of ovarian surgery in the treatment of symptoms related to hyperandrogenaemia, such as hirsutism and acne, has been less clear. This review sought to evaluate the effectiveness of ovarian surgery in the treatment of non-infertility symptoms related to PCOS. A systematic literature review was undertaken, by searching the Medline database for the years 1966-2002 inclusive. The search yielded 19 studies recording the outcomes of hirsutism, acne or androgen levels from surgical treatment for women with PCOS: three assessed unilateral oophorectomy; two ovarian wedge resection; and 14 ovarian drilling. There was no consensus of a clear improvement in hirsutism or acne in women undergoing surgery. There was a trend towards a decrease in serum androgen levels in most studies. We conclude that, while there is evidence that ovarian surgery may decrease androgen levels in some women with PCOS, the evidence that this translates into a clear improvement in hirsutism and acne is less clear. Further high quality clinical research, including data from randomisation, would be required to answer this question.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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