International Journal of Oncology vol:46 issue:2 pages:445-58
Characterizing ovarian masses enables patients with malignancy to be appropriately triaged for treatment by subspecialist gynecological oncologists, which has been shown to optimize care and improve survival. Furthermore, correctly classifying benign masses facilitates the selection of patients with ovarian pathology that may either not require intervention, or be suitable for minimal access surgery if intervention is required. However, predicting whether a mass is benign or malignant is not the only clinically relevant information that we need to know before deciding on appropriate treatment. Knowing the specific histology of a mass is becoming of increasing importance as management options become more tailored to the individual patient. For example predicting a mucinous borderline tumor gives the opportunity for fertility sparing surgery, and will highlight the need for further gastrointestinal assessment. For benign disease, predicting the presence of an endometrioma and possible deeply infiltrating endometriosis is important when considering both who should perform and the extent of surgery. An examiner's subjective assessment of the morphological and vascular features of a mass using ultrasonography has been shown to be highly effective for predicting whether a mass is benign or malignant. Many masses also have features that enable a reliable diagnosis of the specific pathology of a particular mass to be made. In this narrative review we aim to describe the typical morphological features seen on ultrasound of different adnexal masses and illustrate these by showing representative ultrasound images.