Decidualized ovarian endometriosis in pregnancy: A challenging diagnostic entity

Maurizio Barbieri, Edgardo Somigliana, Silvia Oneda, Manuela Wally Ossola, Barbara Acaia, Luigi Fedele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUNDThe hormonal milieu that characterizes pregnancy may determine profound modifications of ovarian endometriomas leading to lesions mimicking malignancy. In this study, we report on our experience and perform a review of the literature on this issue.METHODSData from women evaluated at our referral center for prenatal diagnosis were reviewed in order to identify those who were detected with an ovarian endometrioma in pregnancy mimicking malignancy. A review of the literature on this issue (1990-2008) was also performed, using the PubMed database.RESULTSThree cases were identified at our center. The literature reports on a further 19 cases (11 studies). Sonographic and color Doppler examination consistently documented rapidly growing and abundantly vascularized intracystic excrescences. Conversely, the presence of septations or significant free fluid was never reported. The vast majority of cases underwent surgical removal. Interestingly, in our experience, in a woman who declined surgery and had spontaneous miscarriage at 10 weeks' gestation, the sonographic examination performed 6 weeks after dilatation and curettage revealed an unremarkable typical endometrioma, thus suggesting that it is a transitory transformation.CONCLUSIONSPregnancy-related modifications of an ovarian endometrioma leading to the rapid development of vascularized intracystic excrescences are an uncommon but possible event. An expectant management and serial monitoring should first be envisaged in these cases provided that other features of malignancy, such as septations or free fluid, are absent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1818-1824
Number of pages7
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


  • Endometrioma
  • Endometriosis
  • Malignancy
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Rehabilitation
  • Reproductive Medicine


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