What Is a Complex Ovarian Cyst?

A complex ovarian cyst is a sac containing both fluid and solid components that develops within or on the surface of the ovary. Complex cysts do not develop as a normal part of the menstrual cycle, according to Mayo Clinic.

Dermoid cysts form from the cells that produce human eggs and may contain tissue, such as hair, skin or teeth. Cystadenomas develop from ovarian tissue and contain liquid or mucous material, reports Mayo Clinic. Endometriomas contain uterine endometrial tissue growth and occur in women affected by endometriosis.

Ovarian cysts produce symptoms that include abdominal pain or bloating, painful sexual intercourse, lower back pain, and difficult or frequent need for urination. Sudden, severe abdominal pain or pain accompanied by fever or vomiting requires immediate medical evaluation, according to Mayo Clinic. Large, complex ovarian cysts can result in ovarian torsion, a painful twisting of the ovary.

Doctors diagnose ovarian cysts using ultrasound imaging, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography, reports WebMD. These tests differentiate between complex and simple, fluid-filled cysts. Surgeons perform laparoscopic surgery to take biopsies and to remove complex cysts that cause moderate-to-severe symptoms. Ovarian cystectomy removes only the cyst from the ovary, while oophorectomy removes the affected ovary and the cyst, according to Mayo Clinic.