Adnexal Lesion Imaging: Past, Present, and Future

Radiology. 2023 Jun;307(5):e223281. doi: 10.1148/radiol.223281. Epub 2023 May 9.


Currently, imaging is part of the standard of care for patients with adnexal lesions prior to definitive management. Imaging can identify a physiologic finding or classic benign lesion that can be followed up conservatively. When one of these entities is not present, imaging is used to determine the probability of ovarian cancer prior to surgical consultation. Since the inclusion of imaging in the evaluation of adnexal lesions in the 1970s, the rate of surgery for benign lesions has decreased. More recently, data-driven Ovarian-Adnexal Reporting and Data System (O-RADS) scoring systems for US and MRI with standardized lexicons have been developed to allow for assignment of a cancer risk score, with the goal of further decreasing unnecessary interventions while expediting the care of patients with ovarian cancer. US is used as the initial modality for the assessment of adnexal lesions, while MRI is used when there is a clinical need for increased specificity and positive predictive value for the diagnosis of cancer. This article will review how the treatment of adnexal lesions has changed due to imaging over the decades; the current data supporting the use of US, CT, and MRI to determine the likelihood of cancer; and future directions of adnexal imaging for the early detection of ovarian cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adnexal Diseases* / diagnostic imaging
  • Adnexal Diseases* / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Ultrasonography / methods