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Ovarian remnant syndrome

Rosanne M Kho, MD
Mauricio S Abrao, MD
Section Editor
Howard T Sharp, MD
Deputy Editor
Sandy J Falk, MD, FACOG


Ovarian remnant syndrome (ORS) is defined as the presence of residual ovarian tissue after oophorectomy [1,2]. ORS was first described in 1970 in a report of a study in felines in which ovarian specimens left in the abdominal cavity were able to reimplant and become functional, even after devascularization [3].

ORS is associated with pelvic pain or pelvic mass after oophorectomy. Though infrequent, this condition presents a challenge to the clinician in its diagnosis and treatment.

The epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of ORS are reviewed here. The technique for oophorectomy is discussed separately. (See "Oophorectomy and ovarian cystectomy".)


Historically, the definition of ovarian remnant syndrome (ORS) included only patients with residual ovarian tissue after bilateral oophorectomy. The definition has since been broadened to include patients with a history of unilateral oophorectomy with ovarian tissue remaining ipsilateral to the side of excision [4,5].

ORS differs from residual ovary syndrome, also known as a retained ovary, in which an ovary is intentionally left in place during surgery and subsequently causes pelvic pain [6,7]. It is also different from supernumerary ovary syndrome, which involves the development of extra ovaries during embryogenesis [8]. (See "Causes of chronic pelvic pain in women", section on 'Ovarian remnant and residual ovary syndrome'.)

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Literature review current through: Dec 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 29, 2016.
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