Ovarian torsion: Diagnosis of inclusion mandates earlier intervention

Hannah G. Piper, Sarah C. Oltmann, Lin Xu, Sri Adusumilli, Anne C. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Purpose: The treatment of ovarian torsion (OT) is often delayed because of diagnostic uncertainty and dependence on radiologic confirmation. In contrast, when testicular torsion (TT) is suspected, diagnosis and management are expedited despite lack of certainty, and operative exploration is not delayed by radiologic investigations. We compared the management of torsion in both sexes to define a better clinical pathway for suspected OT. Methods: A 2.5-year review of the Pediatric Health Information System database was performed to determine the incidence of TT and OT at large children's hospitals. A 10-year retrospective review of children (0-19 years) diagnosed with TT or OT at a single academic center was performed to identify differences in diagnosis and management and determine the impact on gonadal salvage rates. Results: The incidence of TT was comparable with OT in the Pediatric Health Information System database (0.03% vs 0.02%). A total of 158 patients with TT and 90 patients with OT were managed at our center with a median age of 12 years in both groups. Boys presented earlier after the onset of pain (36 vs 72 hours, P <.0001) and were imaged more quickly (0.77 vs 1.86 hours, P <.0001). Time to operating room (OR) was also shorter for TT (2.3 vs 6.3 hours, P <.0001). The salvage rate for TT was 30.3% vs 14.4% for OT (P <.01). Conclusions: Girls with suspected OT waited 2.5 times as long for diagnostic imaging and 2.7 times as long to be taken to the operating room. In addition, the gonadal salvage rate was significantly worse for girls compared with boys with TT. More urgent intervention for OT, with liberal use of diagnostic laparoscopy and without reliance on a definitive diagnosis by imaging, should be considered in girls with lower abdominal pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2071-2076
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Gonad salvage
  • Ovarian torsion
  • Testicular torsion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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