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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 505-506

Neonatal intestinal obstruction and bowel ischemia secondary to ovarian cyst

University of Malaya Medical Centre, Paediatric Surgery Unit, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Date of Submission23-May-2021
Date of Decision16-Sep-2021
Date of Acceptance16-Oct-2021
Date of Web Publication26-Jul-2022

Correspondence Address:
Conjeevaram Rajendrarao Thambidorai
Paediatric Surgery Unit, University of Malaya, Jalan University, 50603 Kuala Lumpur
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaps.jiaps_100_21

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How to cite this article:
Thambidorai CR, Ahmad NA. Neonatal intestinal obstruction and bowel ischemia secondary to ovarian cyst. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2022;27:505-6

How to cite this URL:
Thambidorai CR, Ahmad NA. Neonatal intestinal obstruction and bowel ischemia secondary to ovarian cyst. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 9];27:505-6. Available from: https://www.jiaps.com/text.asp?2022/27/4/503/352264

Neonatal ovarian cysts (NOCs) are classified into simple ovarian cysts (SOCs) and complex ovarian cysts (COCs).[1],[2],[3],[4] SOCs are anechoic, thin walled, and unilocular on ultrasound (US). COCs have thick cyst wall, internal septa, and debris. Conservative treatment is advised for NOC smaller than 4–5 cm.[1],[2],[4] Infants on conservative management may deteriorate rapidly with the onset of complications.

Intestinal obstruction (IO) has been reported in 3% of NOC.[1],[2],[4] In 10 of the 24 patients in the literature with IO secondary to NOC, the IO was caused by the pedicle of the cyst extending from the pelvis to the cyst in the abdomen.[1],[2],[4] In our patient reported here, the cause of IO was similar and about 80 cm of the jejunum and ileum were gangrenous. This is the first report of such massive small bowel gangrene caused by NOC.

A full-term baby girl with antenatal finding of an intrabdominal cyst was noted to have a NOC of about 4 cm diameter on postnatal US scan. The cyst in the antenatal scan at 32 weeks, was anechoic, thin walled, and 3–4 cm in diameter. While on conservative management, in the 3rd week of life, the child presented with hematochezia for 2 days and features of peritonitis. Abdominal skiagram revealed pneumoperitoneum.

At laparotomy, a NOC of about 5 cm size and filled with brownish fluid was found in the upper abdomen. The cyst was adherent to the jejunum [Figure 1]. The jejunum and ileum showed ischemic changes secondary to the “band effect” of a long, thin pedicle extending from the lower pole of the cyst to the upper uterus on the left side [Figure 1] and [Figure 2]a. The cyst was released from the jejunum first and then from its pedicle arising from the pelvis [Figure 2]a and [Figure 2]b. The left  Fallopian tube More Details (FT) within the pedicle was atretic.
Figure 1: Dilated jejunal and ileal loops with bowel ischemia. Arrow (A)-Site of attachment of the cyst (C) to jejunum. After release of the jejunal attachment, the cyst could be displaced to the lower abdomen. Colon and distal ileum were viable

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Figure 2: (a) White arrow-Site of the cyst attachment to jejunum. Partial recovery of blood supply to the bowel after cyst release. H-Patient's head end. (b) Excised cyst-Adhesion site to the jejunum is shown by the white arrow and the site of attachment of the pedicle by the black arrow

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Release of the cyst attachments improved the blood supply of part of the bowel. Gangrenous jejunum and ileum of nearly 80 cm were resected with the creation of end jejunostomy and distal ileostomy. The residual bowel length consisted of 35 cm of the jejunum and 10 cm of the distal ileum. The right ovary was normal and the left ovary absent in the pelvis. The resected cyst showed necrosis in its wall and ovarian follicles were not identifiable. Six weeks later, intestinal continuity was restored. Total parenteral nutrition was given for 3 months with subsequent gradual reduction of parenteral nutrition and increase to full oral feeds over 16 months. When last seen at the age of 3 years, the child's weight was within the normal limits.

The diagnosis of ovarian cysts has increased with the use of antenatal and postnatal US scans.[1],[2],[3] Cysts <2 cm in diameter are considered physiological.[1],[3] The management of NOC before the onset of complications remains uncertain.[1],[2],[3],[4] Conservative management is adopted for both SOC and COC, when the cysts show signs of regression in the 1st year of life.[1],[4] Parental counseling and US monitoring at 1–3 months intervals in the 1st year and longer intervals over the 2nd and 3rd years are recommended.[1],[3],[4] Progressive decrease in the cyst size assures successful outcome.

Percutaneous cyst aspiration reduces the cyst size temporarily and chances for torsion but is prone for recurrent enlargement. It has been used both prenatally and postnatally.[3] Surgical intervention mostly ends in oophorectomy on the side of intervention. Fixation of the contralateral ovary is not routinely done as the factors in the pathogenesis of the common NOC are limited to the intrauterine and perinatal periods. The risk for contralateral torsion or cyst enlargement is negligible if the contralateral ovary is either normal or has only small cysts.

Ovaries and FT descend from high up in the posterior abdominal wall of the developing embryo (gonadal zone) to their eventual pelvic location.[4],[5] In nearly half of the patients with IO and NOC, (including another case reported from our institution and the current case) the location of the cysts was above the pelvis (in the central or upper abdomen) with the cyst pedicle extending from the pelvis.[1],[2],[4] The pedicle length depends on the cyst position in the abdomen.[1],[2],[3] The pedicles caused IO in these cases by band effect or torsion.[1],[2],[4] The FT was part of the pedicle and showed changes such as fibrosis, calcification, and stretching.[3],[4] Primordial follicles seen normally in sizable numbers in neonatal ovaries were not seen in any of these cysts, pointing to ovarian dysgenesis. However, ovarian dysgenesis may be either a primary defect in development or secondary to torsion and ischemia.[4] Histologically, the cyst pedicles contain vascularized connective tissue resembling embryonic mesenchyme.[3] Torsion can occur both in the prenatal and postnatal periods.[3],[4],[5] Torsion may also explain the histological changes seen in the FT.[4]

The frequent location of NOC in the upper abdomen in patients presenting with IO accounts for the jejunum being the most frequent site of obstruction.[1],[2] High position of FT extending up the abdomen accompanied by either absent or high placed ipsilateral ovary has been seen in some adult patients investigated for infertility.[5] Müllerian duct abnormalities involving the uterus were also present.[5] It is important to follow these associations when patients with NOC are transitioned to adult care.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

   References Top

Jeanty C, Frayer EA, Page R, Langenburg S. Neonatal ovarian torsion complicated by intestinal obstruction and perforation, and review of the literature. J Pediatr Surg 2010;45:e5-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Thambi Dorai CR, Hazlina K, Sakti T, Cheah PL, Subapriya S. Jejunal stricture from compression by fallopian tube associated with autoamputation of an ovarian cyst: An unusual cause of neonatal intestinal obstruction. J Neonatal Perinat Med 2012;5:279-82.  Back to cited text no. 2
Kwak DW, Sohn YS, Kim SK, Kim IK, Park YW, Kim YH. Clinical experiences of fetal ovarian cyst: Diagnosis and consequence. J Korean Med Sci 2006;21:690-4.  Back to cited text no. 3
Enríquez G, Durán C, Torán N, Piqueras J, Gratacós E, Aso C, et al. Conservative versus surgical treatment for complex neonatal ovarian cysts: Outcomes study. AJR Am J Roentgenol 2005;185:501-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
Verkauf BS, Bernhisel MA. Ovarian maldescent. Fertil Steril 1996;65:189-92.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


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