We have previously reported on the point prevalence of ovarian lesions detected by transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) in 515 asymptomatic women at least 5 years postmenopause. The aims of this study were to report, in the same women, on the repeatability of visualization of the ovaries (TVU) and the natural history of ovarian lesions seen at baseline but not treated surgically and to assess whether any women developed new ovarian abnormalities 12 months later.
The study involved a cohort of 515 postmenopausal women recruited from the community, at least 5 years past their last period. They were assessed at baseline and again after 12 months with TVU and serum levels of inhibin and CA-125.
The right and left ovaries were seen on both occasions in 80% and 68% of women, respectively. Of the 49 women who had an ovarian lesion at baseline, did not undergo surgery at that time, and had a follow-up TVU, the lesion was unchanged 12 months later in 30 women. Four women developed a new ovarian lesion within the 12 months. None of the 14 women who underwent surgery on the basis of the ovarian appearance at baseline, or the 2 who had surgery on the basis of the ovarian appearance at follow-up, had an ovarian malignancy.
The use of TVU in women at least 5 years after menopause is problematic because the ovaries cannot be visualized in all women and because TVU has the potential to identify many benign lesions that would otherwise remain undetected. These are important considerations in weighing up the risks and benefits of using TVU as a screening tool.