This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
When the cyst is unilocular and no acute symptoms present nor active growth going on, then the injection of iodine may in some instances prove useful, although the radical operation of removing the diseased ovary has now such an average success that the less certain method of injection is seldom employed. M. Boinet records 45 cases, treated by tapping and injecting equal parts of iodine tincture and water, allowing this to remain for a few minutes while the abdomen was gently manipulated, then to escape; 31 out of these cases are said to have been successful, while 9 ended fatally. This is a much higher mortality than after ovariotomy.
Veipeau, Simpson, and Spencer Wells have also obtained, on the whole, favorable results with the same method (Medical Times, ii., 1860), but Dr. Tyler Smith succeeded in only 2 out of 10 cases in which he employed it, and of 6 patients treated by Schuh, only 1 was cured and 1 relieved. My own experience of injection in ovarian dropsy, though not large, is rather favorable. In one case, now nineteen years ago, I withdrew a pint of fluid from a large cyst, and injected 4 oz. of iodine tincture, and after repeating this three times, absorption ultimately took place, and the lady, now living, has had no further inconvenience. In another similar case in which I drew off a pint of fluid, and injected 2 to 3 oz. of iodine tincture, severe physiological effects followed, and continued for ten days; but the patient soon rallied, and three months afterward 4 oz. more were injected, and absorption of the cystic fluid rapidly took place. This was in 18G4, and at the present time there remains only a growth the size of an orange, which gives rise to no annoyance.
In both cases the cysts were judged to be unilocular, and were of some years' duration, but the operation, though favorable in result, required repetition, and produced for a time troublesome symptoms. It is clearly not one to be adopted without much consideration, and only for cases such as those described, where the patients would not submit to removal of the ovary. Sometimes a fatal issue has followed directly from iodine injection, as in the often-quoted case of Dr. E. Rose. He injected into an ovarian cyst 5 oz. of iodine tincture containing 1 dr. of iodide of potassium, and severe symptoms of iodism and collapse immediately set in, with vomiting and cyanosis; scanty, dark urine, containing iodine, was excreted; three days afterward the cutaneous capillaries dilated, the face flushed, maculae appeared on the skin, and hemorrhage occurred from the lungs and uterus.
On the eighth day, most of the urgent symptoms had disappeared, but the urine still contained iodine and albumen; on the tenth day, death occurred suddenly from cardiac failure (Nothnagel).