Conference Coverage

Consider treating ovarian torsion with conservative surgery in young women



– Women with ovarian torsion had a lower rate of perioperative complications when treated with conservative surgery, compared with oophorectomy, according to results from a retrospective study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Dr. Rachel S. Mandelbaum is with the department of obstetrics & gynecology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Jeff Craven/MDedge News

Dr. Rachel S. Mandelbaum

The effectiveness of laparoscopy and conservative surgery has increased in recent years, but over 75% of women with ovarian torsion in the study were treated with oophorectomy and 60% underwent a laparotomy, said Rachel S. Mandelbaum, MD, of the department of obstetrics & gynecology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

“We believe that conservative surgery should be performed whenever possible in young women with ovarian torsion regardless of the appearance of the ovary intraoperatively,” said Dr. Mandelbaum.

The researchers performed a retrospective, observational study of 89,801 women in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample who were younger than age 50 years, were diagnosed with ovarian torsion during Jan. 2001–Sept. 2015, and were treated with conservative surgery or oophorectomy. Patients were excluded if they had malignancy, were older than 50 years of age, or their surgery information was unavailable. The majority of patients in the study were white (46%), nonobese (91%), without comorbidities, privately insured (59%), and were seen at a large (61%) urban hospital (51% teaching; 38% nonteaching).

Dr. Mandelbaum and colleagues found 78% of patients received a cystectomy, 19% had cyst drainage, 11% had detorsion alone, and 0.5% had an oophoropexy, with less than 10% of patients having a combination of cystectomy, cyst drainage, and oophoropexy. According to a multivariable analysis, patients who were treated with conservative surgery were more likely to be young, have a high income, live in the northeastern United States, be treated with laparoscopy, and be seen at a large hospital or teaching hospital (P less than .001). Oophorectomy was more common in patients with a high number of comorbidities and in patients with morbid obesity (P less than .001).

Between 2001 and 2015, the rate of conservative surgery increased from 19% to 25% (P less than .001); however, the rate of conservative surgery by age was nearly 40% in pediatric patients up to 15 years old, while the rate of conservative surgery declined by almost half until 35 years, followed by a further decline until age 50 years, said Dr. Mandelbaum. Use of laparoscopy also increased from 31% in 2001 to 42% in 2015 (P less than .001).

Overall, 20,643 patients underwent conservative surgery and 69,157 patients received an oophorectomy. Patients in the conservative surgery group were more likely to undergo a conservative surgery with a laparoscopic surgical approach (51%) than a laparotomy (41%), while patients receiving an oophorectomy were more likely to have a laparotomy (67%) than a laparoscopic surgical approach (33%). In 1,663 conservative surgeries (8%), the approach was unknown.

Postoperative complications were higher in the oophorectomy group (12%) than the conservative surgery (8%) group (odds ratio, 0.57; 95% confidence interval, 0.57-0.78; P less than .001), but there was a similar rate of venous thromboembolism (0.3% vs. 0.2%; P equals .568) and sepsis (0.3% vs. 0.3%; P equals .865) in each group.

Dr. Mandelbaum attributed the high rate of oophorectomies in the study to “differential uptake of evidence” in different areas of the United States, fear of complications from leaving an infected ovary in situ, or the surgeon’s belief that the ovary is not viable because of its color intraoperatively. “We know from animal and human studies that the intraoperative appearance of the ovary does not correlate to viability, and that 90% of black or blue ovaries regain function and subsequently appear normal on both transvaginal ultrasound or on a second look grossly,” she said. Oophorectomy rates also vary by surgeon, and gynecologists are more likely to perform conservative surgery, she added.

The researchers said they were unable to obtain data on specific surgical variables such as the size of the mass, time to surgery, intraoperative appearance, laterality, fertility wishes of the patient, and surgeon type. There were also no postdischarge data, or information on the timing of complications.

Dr. Mandelbaum reported no relevant conflicts of interest.

SOURCE: Mandelbaum RS et al. ASRM 2019. Abstract O-96.

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