Zocdoc Answers

Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What is a complex ovarian cyst?"


My wife has just heard from her gynecologist that she has a 'complex' ovarian cyst. I've heard of ovarian cysts before (and thought they weren't too dangerous??) but what does it mean for a cyst to be complex? Do we have to get it therapy before we have it treated, or what?


Ovarian cysts are a very common problem. Most of the time, ovarian cysts are completely benign and represent a normal variation on changes the ovaries go through during the menstrual cycle. Rarely, ovarian cysts are cancerous.

See a doctor who can help

Find a Obgyns near you

There are some types of ovarian cysts that are more likely to be cancerous. These cysts, rather than appearing like simple fluid filled bags, often have internal structures in the fluid. These cysts are referred to as 'complex cysts.' Most complex cysts are still benign, not cancerous. However, because they have a higher risk, they usually are watched closely. In young women at a low overall risk of ovarian cancer, this may just mean repeating an ultrasound in a month or two. In older women, it may include some blood work and, even, in some cases surgical removal of the cyst. As always the diagnosis and the management of your wife's particular concerns will require a physical examination by her personal physician. Talking about your questions with her gynecologist is highly recommended.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.