Background/purpose: Ovarian pathology, although rare in children, must be included in the differential diagnosis of all girls who present with abdominal pain, an abdominal mass, or precocious puberty.
Methods: To improve clinical appreciation of these lesions, the authors reviewed the presentation, evaluation, and outcome of all patients with ovarian pathology surgically treated at their institution since 1985.
Results: One hundred two girls (aged 9.8 +/- 5.5 years; range, 2 days to 20 years) underwent 106 separate ovarian operations (43 salpingo-oophorectomies, 21 oophorectomies, 33 ovarian cystectomies, and 9 ovarian biopsies). Of those presenting with acute abdominal pain (n = 59), 25 (42%) had ovarian torsion (14 associated with a mature teratoma), and only 1 (2%) had a malignant tumor. In contrast, of those presenting with an abdominal mass (n = 23), 6 (26%) had malignancies. There was no age difference between those with benign disease (9.9 +/- 5.6 years; n = 96) and those with malignant tumors (8.6 +/- 3.9 years, n = 10). Nine children had 10 operations for presumed malignant tumors (3 dysgerminomas, 2 immature teratomas with foci of yolk sac tumor, 2 juvenile granulosa cell tumors, 1 yolk sac tumor, and 1 Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor). These patients all had unilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, 4 had chemotherapy, and all are now disease free at 8.4 +/- 4.1 years follow-up.
Conclusion: Ovarian pathology remains a rare indication for surgery in girls less than 20 years of age. Because most of these lesions are benign, ovarian-preserving operations should be performed whenever feasible.
Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company.