Multimodality imaging review for suspected ovarian torsion cases in children

S. Gounder, M. Strudwick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Objectives: Ovarian torsion (OT), although rare, can be described as a complete or partial twist of the ovary with impairment of blood flow. Although occurring at any age, it is more common in children and during pregnancy. Presenting symptoms are non-specific but include either persistent or intermittent acute abdominal pain, making early diagnosis difficult. Delayed diagnosis is associated with an increased need for oophorectomy. The aim of this literature review is to establish the safest and most efficacious imaging strategy for OT by comparing and contrasting evidence for current imaging modalities found in the literature. Key findings: Characteristically, OT can be identified through a combination of findings some of which includes an enlarged ovary, multiple follicles at the periphery and a “whirlpool” sign. Currently, ultrasound is the preferred primary imaging modality; although computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may also be used when findings are equivocal; with MRI being the safer option. Conclusion: Ultimately, while it is true that ovarian torsion is not a common cause of acute abdominal pain in children, it should always be considered in the differential diagnosis. Prior to selecting an imaging modality; the clinical presentation, age group, possible radiation dose and availability of the modality needs to be considered to ensure the appropriate imaging strategy. Implications for practice: With new tools such as scoring systems, B-flow imaging (BFI), diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) currently being explored for possible use in the future, early diagnosis of OT may be attainable. Thus, reducing the likelihood of adverse complications and consequently the need for oophorectomy.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • CT
  • MRI
  • Ovarian torsion
  • Paediatric imaging
  • Ultrasound

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