Conservative management of large ovarian cysts in children: The value of serial pelvic ultrasonography

B. W. Warner, J. C. Kuhn, L. L. Barr, J. L. Grosfeld, R. A. Amoury, M. W.L. Gauderer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Background. The management of large ovarian cysts in children is controversial and complicated by a poorly understood natural history. The purpose of this study was to determine the course of sonographically detected large ovarian cysts in a pediatric population. Methods. All pelvic ultrasonograms in which an ovarian cyst was detected during a 6-year period were reviewed. Large cysts were defined as those of more than 5 cm in any dimension or a volume of more than 13 cc. Clinical data and follow-up was derived from either the hospital chart or by telephone interview. Results. Large ovarian cysts were detected in 92 of 191 patients (48.2%). The average age was 14.9 years (range, 3 to 22 years). Eight patients were premenarchal. In 23 patients, surgery was performed, with findings of neoplasm in 10. In patients managed without surgery and with follow-up, 46 of 51 cysts (90%) decreased in size or completely resolved. Both complex and simple cysts resolved. Conclusions. Most large ovarian cysts in children (simple or complex) may be safely followed with serial pelvic ultrasonography, because most cysts will either decrease in size or resolve. Neither the character of the cyst nor the size reliably predicted clinical outcome. The decision for surgical intervention should not be based solely on ultrasonographic characteristics, but other factors such as severe symptoms, complications associated with the large mass, other evidence suggestive of neoplasm, ovarian source in doubt, or whether the cyst fails to resolve or decrease in size on follow-up ultrasonography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-755
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


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