Laparoscopy as the most effective tool for management of postmenopausal complex adnexal masses when expectancy is not advisable

J Minim Invasive Gynecol. Sep-Oct 2012;19(5):554-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jmig.2012.05.007. Epub 2012 Jul 17.


Postmenopausal women with adnexal masses suspicious for malignancy must undergo surgery for histopathologic confirmation. The low positive predictive value for malignancy of the currently available preoperative examinations results in 5 to 220 surgeries performed for each case of pelvic malignancy detected, depending on the evaluation method and patient selection. Although extensively reviewed as an effective tool for the investigation and treatment of adnexal masses, laparoscopy is still underused for this purpose in postmenopausal women. Some reasons are uncertainty about the incidental diagnosis of a malignant lesion during laparoscopy, concern about the effect of laparoscopy over the course of a pelvic malignant lesion, and inadequate referral of patients at high risk to specialized centers with oncologic gynecologists. Identification of patients at low risk might also be inadequate, causing them to undergo unnecessary laparotomy. Herein we demonstrate through a comprehensive literature review that laparoscopy is a highly effective tool for investigation and treatment of suspected adnexal masses in postmenopausal women, both in general medical settings without oncologic backup and in specialized centers. The indications for laparoscopy in this context can be further expanded without oncologic harm if patients at low and high risk are appropriately selected for surgery at general and specialized settings, respectively.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings
  • Laparoscopy*
  • Ovarian Cysts / diagnosis*
  • Ovarian Cysts / etiology
  • Ovarian Cysts / surgery
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / etiology
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / surgery
  • Postmenopause*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Watchful Waiting