Myths in the Evaluation and Management of Ovarian Torsion

Jennifer J. Robertson, Brit Long, Alex Koyfman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: Ovarian torsion is a rare but serious cause of pelvic pain in females. Making the diagnosis is important because misdiagnosis can lead to an ischemic ovary and subsequent infertility. Objective: Although all emergency physicians are aware of ovarian torsion, there are several myths regarding its epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment. This article attempts to review some of these myths to improve emergency diagnosis and evaluation. Discussion: Ovarian torsion is not an easy diagnosis to make and it is commonly missed. Signs and symptoms often mimic other disorders such as appendicitis, pyelonephritis, and nephrolithiasis. The diagnosis becomes more challenging in that torsion can occur in female patients of all ages, including infants and the elderly. Normal arterial blood flow on ultrasound does not rule out ovarian torsion and not every patient will have a mass on imaging or a palpable mass on examination. Patients may have symptoms for several hours or days, and thus, ovarian torsion may be present even with a longer duration of symptoms. Surgery is the definitive treatment and may still be effective after several hours of symptoms. Conclusions: Although ovarian torsion is a challenging diagnosis, understanding myths surrounding the disorder may help emergency physicians consider it in unusual populations. If there is any clinical concern for ovarian torsion, a gynecologic consult may be helpful, even if imaging findings are not conclusive. Surgery remains the standard method for definitive diagnosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - Jul 18 2016


  • Abdominal pain
  • Myth
  • Ovarian torsion
  • Pelvic examination
  • Pelvic pain
  • Ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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