Sonographic features of incidentally detected, small, nonpalpable ovarian dermoids

Giovanni Serafini, Pier Giorgio Quadri, Nicoletta G. Gandolfo, Nicola Gandolfo, Carlo Martinoli, Lorenzo E. Derchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose. We describe the transvaginal sonographic features of incidentally detected, small, nonpalpable ovarian dermoid cysts. Methods. A total of 38 small (less than 3 cm in diameter), nonpalpable, incidentally discovered ovarian dermoids in 35 women were retrospectively reviewed; 3 patients had small bilateral lesions, and 7 had a small ovarian dermoid detected during preoperative evaluation of a symptomatic, large, contralateral lesion. Results. Transvaginal sonography permitted identification of all 38 dermoids, whereas abdominal sonography detected only 22 of the lesions. Three main structural patterns were observed with transvaginal sonography: (1) 20 of 38 lesions had a solid, hyperechoic appearance, either homogeneous (11) or heterogeneous (9); (2) a fluid-filled area with a hyperechoic focus in its wall was seen in 10 cases; and (3) a mixed pattern, with solid and liquid areas, was seen in 8 cases. Calcifications were appreciated in 7 lesions. Acoustic shadowing was noted in 30 cases, either as a shadow posterior to the hyperechoic portion of the mass or as an edge shadow lateral to the lesion. Doppler studies were obtained for 20 lesions but proved inconclusive: 4 mixed-pattern dermoids had a few internal signals with a low resistance pattern; in the remaining cases, there were signals at the periphery of the cysts, but it could not be determined whether these were from vessels within the lesions or from vessels in the surrounding ovarian parenchyma. Surgery confirmed benign cystic dermoids in all 38 cases. Conclusions. Sonographically, small ovarian dermoids have a variety of textural patterns quite similar to those encountered in large, symptomatic lesions. The increased resolution capabilities provided by transvaginal sonography allow incidental detection of previously unsuspected dermoids and permit identification of their nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-373
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Ultrasound
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1999


  • Mature cystic teratoma
  • Nonpalpable
  • Ovary
  • Ovary, cysts
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics

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