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A Journal on Obstetrics and Gynecology

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Minerva Ginecologica 2008 February;60(1):83-9


language: English

Evidence-based approach for the use of ultrasound in the management of polycystic ovary syndrome

Nardo L. G., Gelbaya T. A.

Department of Reproductive Medicine, Central Manchester and Manchester Children University Hospitals NHS Trust, Saint Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, UK


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a complex endocrinopathy, affecting 5-10% of women in the reproductive age group, with a wide spectrum of phenotypes. The cardinal features are hyperandrogenism, ovulatory dysfunction and/or polycystic ovary (PCO) appearance. Three major diagnostic criteria for PCOS have been proposed by the National Institute of Health (NIH 1990), the Rotterdam European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology/American Society for Reproductive Medicine — sponsored PCOS Consensus Workshop Group (ESHRE/ASRM 2003) — and the recent task force of the Androgen Excess Society (AES 2006). The PCO appearance is not a prerequisite for the diagnosis of PCOS. The aim of this review was to assess the available evidence in order to highlight the role of ultrasound in the diagnosis and management of PCOS. The evidence supports positive correlation between ultrasound features and biochemical indices of PCOS suggesting that ultrasound could play a role in prediction of PCOS severity and prognosis. Recent advances in ultrasonography resulted in a change of emphasis on the relative importance of total ovarian volume, follicle number and ovarian stromal changes in the diagnosis of PCO. In particular, ovarian stromal area/total area (S/A) ratio seems to have the most efficient diagnostic performance for hyperandrogenism. Three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound is a relatively new imaging modality that has the potential to improve the sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound without adding much to the practical management of the syndrome. In addition to its role in the definition of PCO, ultrasound is helpful to predict fertility outcome in patients undergoing treatment.

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