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Gynecology

A Cyst or a Follicle?

04/26/2010

Question:

Dear Doctor,

I had 2 ultrasounds done in the past two months, and both reported a small cyst on the left ovary. The first one said that "the left ovary contains a minimally complex cyst 1.9*1.6*1.7cm, likely physiological, not clearly representing a corpus luteum". The second one says that the left ovary contains a simple cyst 1.5*1.5cm. Both ultrasounds are done at day 10 of my cycle, at the same place. I ask the doctor at the second ultrasound if I had a cyst. She said that she saw a dominant follicle on the left ovary and nothing that would look like a cyst. I also clearly had ovulations both months on day 13. I am confused. Do they call a dominant follicle a cyst? Is it the same thing? My previous ultrasound lab always reported a dominant follicle, but I switches the medical center, and now they keep reporting the cyst and not a word about the folicle. I am used to view a cyst as a bad thing, and now I am trying to get pregnant and do not want any complications. Can doctors just call a dominant follicle a simple cyst? Is it the same?

Answer:

They are likely talking about the same thing. A dominant follicle IS a cyst (a fluid filled structure). Given that it was done almost mid cycle, it represents a dominant follicle a few days before ovulation. The question is, why was the ultrasound being performed? What were the symptoms that lead to the study?

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Response by:

Thomas  A deHoop, MD Thomas A deHoop, MD
Formerly Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Medical Student Education
No longer associated