An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac in an ovary and is a common occurrence. Most ovarian cysts occur as part of the normal working of the ovaries, and are less than 4cm in diameter. These cysts are generally silent and disappear without treatment in a few months. Cysts that are larger than 4cm tend to persist and give rise to pelvic pain or discomfort. Ovarian cysts are usually diagnosed by ultrasound scan, or sometimes found as an incidental finding in a CT or MRI for other reasons.
Ovarian cysts detected after menopause should be investigated further to exclude cancer.
Surgery for ovarian cysts in a young woman is usually laparoscopic and involves removing the cyst wall and conserving the ovary. In a woman around or past menopause, it might be more appropriate to remove the ovary with the cyst as the risk of malignancy increases with age.