Whether the ovarian cyst needs to be treated depends on:

  • the appearance and size of the cyst
  • whether woman has been through the menopause
  • whether there are any symptoms


In some cases, observation may be all that is necessary. Small (2-5cm) functional cysts in pre-menopausal women usually disappear on they own. The patient may need to have an ultrasound scan after a month to make sure that the cyst has gone.

Women with ovarian cysts who have gone through the menopause need to be monitored with ultrasound scans and blood tests for the CA125 protein. The risk of developing cancer is very low if there are small cysts on one ovary. More than half of such cysts disappear within three months.


If the cyst is large or is causing symptoms, it is better for it to be removed surgically. Sometimes it is necessary to take the cyst out, even if there are no symptoms, because it is not always possible to tell what type of cyst it is without looking at it under a microscope.

Laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy

Removal of the cyst through keyhole incisions: laparoscopic (keyhole) removal of the cyst is our preferred approach, because it causes less pain and allows the patient to return to normal activity sooner.

A laparoscope (a small, tube-shaped telescope) is then passed into the abdomen through the navel (tummy button). Using tiny surgical instruments, the surgeon can remove the cyst through small incisions (cuts) in the skin. The incisions are then closed using dissolvable stitches.

This operation takes about half an hour, depending on the size and type of cyst. Most women are able to go home the same day.


If there is a risk that the cyst is cancerous, you may be advised to have a more open operation, called a laparotomy.

For this operation, a larger incision is made across the top of the pubic hairline. The whole ovary and cyst is taken out and sent to a laboratory to check that it is not cancerous.

External links

Ovary after laparoscopic ovarian cystectomy