High risk and low prevalence diseases: Ovarian torsion

Am J Emerg Med. 2022 Jun;56:145-150. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2022.03.046. Epub 2022 Mar 31.


Introduction: Ovarian torsion is a rare, frequently misdiagnosed condition that carries with it a high rate of morbidity.

Objective: This review highlights the pearls and pitfalls of ovarian torsion, including presentation, evaluation, and management in the emergency department (ED) based on current evidence.

Discussion: Ovarian torsion is one of the most common gynecological surgical emergencies and occurs with complete or partial rotation of the ovary along the supporting ligaments, obstructing vascular flow. Several risk factors include the presence of an ovarian mass or cyst. The most common population affected includes reproductive aged women, though cases also occur in premenarchal females, pregnant women, and postmenopausal women. Abdominal or pelvic pain is common but is not always sudden in onset or severe. Nausea and vomiting occur in 70%. Ultrasound can assist with diagnosis, but a normal ultrasound examination cannot exclude the diagnosis. Computed tomography with intravenous contrast can assist with diagnosis. Treatment includes emergent gynecologic consultation for surgical detorsion, along with symptomatic therapy in the ED.

Conclusions: An understanding of ovarian torsion can assist emergency clinicians in diagnosing and managing this disease.

Keywords: Adnexal torsion; Gynecology; Ovarian torsion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adnexal Diseases* / surgery
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures
  • Humans
  • Ovarian Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Ovarian Diseases* / therapy
  • Ovarian Torsion
  • Pregnancy
  • Prevalence
  • Torsion Abnormality / diagnosis
  • Torsion Abnormality / epidemiology
  • Torsion Abnormality / surgery