Most girls are born with two ovaries—one on either side of the uterus. Occasionally, young girls will develop cysts on the ovaries. Most cysts are small, benign, fluid-filled sacs and will go away without surgery. Others may become troublesome and cause pain or other symptoms.”
The most common types of ovarian cysts include:
- A follicular cyst, which develops each month during ovulation. The sac normally ruptures to release the egg; however in some cases, the sac does not break, resulting in a cyst. Normally, this type of cyst disappears on its own in one to three months.
- A corpus luteum cyst also forms each month after the egg is released. This cyst can grow larger and may cause some bleeding and pain.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is when many cysts form inside an ovary. This syndrome typically does not cause pain or discomfort.
- Neonatal Ovarian Cysts. During pregnancy, would may pass high concentrations of maternal hormones (including estrogen) through the umbilical cord vessels to the female fetus growing inside the mother’s uterus. As a result, the fetus (baby) may develop ovarian cysts. These may become quite large. Our surgeons have extensive experience with treatment of these patients.
When do you need surgery?
While most cysts go away on their own, some more persistent cysts can twist, which is called torsion. When this occurs, blood is trapped and stopped from entering the ovary. Girls will have intense abdominal pain, nausea and may sometimes pass out. When this occurs, a surgeon removes the cyst using laparoscopic surgery while leaving the rest of the ovary in place.
Laparoscopic Ovarian Cyst Removal Surgery
Using a tiny camera-guided scope, the pediatric surgeon will make a small incision close to the navel. Carbon dioxide gas is normally pumped into the abdomen, so that the organs can be seen more easily and are more accessible. Two or three additional slits are created so that slim instruments can pass through and remove the cyst.
Strenuous activity or heavy-lifting should be avoided for the first 10 to 14 days after surgery. Most girls are fully recuperated within 2 to 3 weeks of surgery.
Read a study about the surgical management of neonatal ovarian cysts, co-author by Dr. Duncan Phillips