Testing & Diagnosis for Ovarian Mass / Ovarian Tumor in Children

The first step in treating your daughter is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis.

Because most ovarian cysts don’t cause symptoms and go away on their own, they may go completely unnoticed. If your child has pain or irregular periods, her doctor may recommend several tests which may include:

  • A pelvic ultrasound. This imaging procedure uses sound waves to make a picture of your child's ovaries, uterus and bladder. A full bladder may be necessary for the test. If the ultrasound detects a cyst, your child's doctor will likely repeat the ultrasound in two to eight weeks to make sure it is shrinking. If the ultrasound shows a cyst filled with clear fluid it is unlikely a tumor; if it shows debris in the cyst fluid or solid parts, your child's doctor will likely recommend further testing.
  • Pregnancy test. In pregnancy, harmless cysts often form when the ruptured follicle releases the egg, reseals itself and fills with fluid.
  • Biopsy. The mass is removed with great care not to spill the contents of the mass if there is a concern for malignancy.
  • Urine and blood tests
  • Computerized Tomography Scan (also called a CT or CAT scan), a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images, often called slices, of the body from horizontal and vertical perspectives. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
  • A gynecologist who specializes in pediatric and adolescent patients will perform a procedure to examine the interior of the abdomen, used to determine the size, grade and stage of a tumor.

The Gynecology Program at Boston Children's Hospital has experts in treating the full range of cysts. When your daughter's doctor is forming a diagnosis, it is likely to include the type of cyst your daughter suffers from. These can include: functional cysts (follicular cyst or corpus luteum cyst), polycystic ovaries, endometriomas, cystadenomas and dermoid cysts.

After we complete all necessary tests, our experts meet to review and discuss what they have learned about your child's condition. Then we will meet with you and your family to discuss the results and outline the best treatment options.