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These are photos of ovarian tumors. The term "tumor" does not mean benign or malignant. It simply means the mass in the ovary is not a functional, ovulatory cyst. "Tumor" implies that the mass or "cyst" is not a normal finding. Almost always, these are removed surgically. Sometimes the ovary can be salvaged, other times it must be removed along with the tumor. In competent hands, the vast majority of these ovarian tumors can be investigated and removed by laparoscopic techniques.

Click on a photo below to view a larger image.
Normal Anatomy

This photo demonstrates a normal left fallopian tube and ovary. The reddened area on the lower portion of the ovary is a corpus lutean cyst, which is formed each month immediately following ovulation. If bleeding occurs within the cyst, it can become very large. These "functional" cysts are normal, naturally occurring structures that will almost always spontaneously resolve if left alone. Surgery is almost never required for this type of ovarian cyst.

Normal Ovarian Cysts
These are photographs of normal "functional" ovarian cysts. All of these are the result of normal ovarian function (ovulation) and rarely require surgical intervention.


This is a closeup view of the left ovary immediately following ovulation. The oocyte "egg" was released through the small hole just to the right of the bright red blood vessel.

This photo demonstrates the normal appearance of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. It can be used for comparison to the ovarian masses shown below.
Ovarian fibroma
These are benign solid tumors that occur within the ovary. They can be very large. This is a photo of an ovarian fibroma that is about the size of a cantaloupe.


The fibroma completely fills the pelvis, pushing the uterus upward.
The fibroma can be seen hanging from the otherwise normal left ovary.
The tumor has been removed by laparoscopic techniques, leaving a normal uterus and ovaries.

Ovarian Dermoid (Cystic Teratoma)
Dermoids are the most common ovarian tumors encountered by the gynecologist. The vast majority of these tumors are benign, although they can be malignant. They are semi-solid, semi-cystic tumors that can be filled with oily sebaceous material, hair, teeth, bone, cartilage, and most any other tissue. In competent hands, most can be removed laparoscopically. Quite often, the ovary can be salvaged. In younger patients, we always attempt to salvage the ovary, regardless of the size of the dermoid.


Appearance of the left ovary greatly enlarged by a dermoid tumor in a 17 year-old girl.
The dermoid tumor has been freed from the left ovary by laparoscopic techniques.

The left ovary after the tumor has been removed and the ovary repaired
Ovarian Cancer
There are many different types of ovarian cancer. The photos below are of a relatively rare case of endometrioid ovarian cancer.


The left ovary is enlarged and irregular.
The left ovary has been freed and will be removed without spilling its contents. It proved to contain an endometrioid carcinoma, a rare type of ovarian cancer probably arising from an implant of endometriosis within the ovary.