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General Practice 2023

Teratoma no ovário: what é, symptoms and treatment

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Teratoma no ovário: what é, symptoms and treatment
Teratoma no ovário: what é, symptoms and treatment

Teratoma is a type of tumor that arises due to the proliferation of germ cells, which are cells found only in the ovaries and testes, responsible for giving rise to the egg and sperm.

Thus, it is common for teratoma to appear in the ovary, being more frequent in young women. Ovarian teratoma may not cause any symptoms, but it can also cause pain or increase in abdominal volume, depending on its size or if it affects structures around the ovaries. evaluation and the most appropriate treatment is indicated.

When developing, the teratoma forms a tumor composed of several different types of tissues, so in its structure there can be skin, cartilage, bones, teeth and even hair. Learn more about teratoma and main characteristics.

Main symptoms

In many cases, ovarian teratoma causes no symptoms, and can be discovered accidentally in routine exams. When symptoms do appear, the most common is abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the lower abdomen.

Other signs that may arise are uterine bleeding or belly growth, usually when the tumor grows too large or produces fluid around it. When the teratoma grows too large outside the ovary, there may be a twist or even rupture of the tumor, which causes intense abdominal pain, requiring emergency care for evaluation.

Generally, teratoma, like other ovarian cysts, does not cause infertility, unless it causes extensive involvement of the ovary, and in most cases the woman can get pregnant normally.

How to confirm

To confirm the teratoma in the ovary, the gynecologist may request tests such as abdominal ultrasound, transvaginal ultrasound or computed tomography, for example.In addition, you can request the measurement of alpha-fetoprotein and beta-HCG in the blood, as levels are usually altered in the case of teratoma, which may also be indicative of malignancy.

In addition to blood and imaging tests, it is important to perform a teratoma biopsy, because it can be benign or malignant, which directly interferes with the treatment indicated by the gynecologist:

  • Benign teratoma: also known as mature teratoma or dermoid cyst, it is the type of teratoma that appears in most cases, and its treatment is done by removing it by surgery;
  • Malignant teratoma: also called immature teratoma, it is a type of cancer that can spread to other tissues of the body, and appears in about 15% of cases. Treatment includes removal of the affected ovary and chemotherapy.

Thus, based on the evaluation of the teratoma characteristics, the woman's age and the presence of symptoms, the doctor can indicate the best type of treatment in order to prevent complications.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for ovarian teratoma depends on the woman's age, associated risk factors, presence of symptoms, and desire to become pregnant. In cases in which the teratoma is not large, does not cause symptoms, does not show signs of malignancy and does not interfere with the woman's quality of life, the doctor may indicate that only follow-up should be carried out.

However, in cases where the teratoma in the ovary is very large or causes discomfort, surgery to remove the teratoma may be indicated, preserving the ovary whenever possible. However, in some cases, it is necessary to remove the affected ovary completely, especially if there are signs of malignancy or when the ovary has been severely compromised by the tumor.

Most of the time, the surgery is performed by videolaparoscopy, a more practical, faster method that makes recovery faster. However, if cancer is suspected or the teratoma is very large, conventional open surgery may be required.In addition, if the presence of cancer is confirmed, the doctor may recommend chemotherapy to optimize treatment.

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