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PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to establish the post-natal diagnosis and outcome of antenatally diagnosed intra-abdominal cysts between 1991 and 2013 at our institution. METHODS: All antenatally diagnosed intra-abdominal cysts between 1991 and 2013 were identified using a foetal anomaly database. The cysts were monitored for resolution. In all cases where the cyst had not resolved antenatally, additional post-natal scans were conducted. Antenatal diagnosis, post-natal diagnosis and outcomes were also recorded. RESULTS: 118 cases of antenatal intra-abdominal cysts were identified over the 22-year study period with a 98 % live birth rate. The overall accuracy of an antenatal diagnosis at our institution was 92 %. 26 cases (22 %) resolved spontaneously in utero, the majority of which (77 %) were ovarian in nature. Four tumour cases were identified in the series, which included two neuroblastomas, one yolk sac tumour and one teratoma. 90 cysts persisted post-natally with 52 % requiring surgery. These primarily included choledochal and enteric duplication cysts as well as symptomatic solid organ cysts. Diagnostic revision was limited to 8 % of cases over the study period with an overall improvement over the last decade. Overall, 40 % of all antenatally diagnosed cysts required surgical intervention. In those cysts that persisted post-natally, 52 % required surgery. CONCLUSIONS: A fifth of prenatally diagnosed intra-abdominal cysts will resolve with most ovarian cysts regressing in utero. Half of all persistent cysts will, however, require surgical intervention. These data are useful for prenatal counselling and demonstrates the important role played by the paediatric surgeon in the overall management of intra-abdominal cysts.

Original publication




Journal article


Pediatr Surg Int

Publication Date





187 - 190


Cysts, Digestive System Diseases, Female, Humans, Ovarian Cysts, Pregnancy, Prenatal Diagnosis, Remission, Spontaneous, Retrospective Studies, Ultrasonography, Prenatal