Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs of various sizes and are found, as their name reveals, within an ovary. Their size ranges from a few mm to more than 30cm. They are either functional or pathological ovarian cysts.
Functional cysts most commonly affect women in reproductive age. They are caused by hormonal changes in the female organism and they are usually about 4-5 cm in diameter. Functional cysts include corpus luteum cysts and follicular cysts.
On the other hand, main types of pathological cysts are:
- dermoid cyst
- endometriotic cyst, also known as chocolate cyst
Functional cysts, in contrast to pathological ones cannot be surgically removed. They normally go away on their own or by medication. Pathological cysts should be laparoscopically removed because:
- the cyst might grow so big over time that it may be inoperable/ difficult to remove
- there is a risk of the ovary twisting due to increased weight from the cyst (ovarian torsion)
The diagnostic-preoperative stages are vital. An ultrasound, an MRI session and measurement of CA 125 levels are the tests which will determine any cyst characteristics that may imply chances of malignancy. Malignant cysts usually appear right after menopause.
Laparoscopy is the safest and most effective way to remove ovarian cysts, except from malignant ones. Provided that the diagnosis has shown that a cyst is benign and it is not bigger than 15cm, the procedure can be performed laparoscopically. The advantages of laparoscopic surgery are many. On the one hand, there is little chance of recurrence and the woman’s reproductive ability is preserved. On the other hand, the duration of the patient’s stay in hospital and recovery time are much shorter.