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The purpose of this publication is to review the most up-to-date literature regarding the pathogenesis, diagnosis and management of tubo-ovarian abscesses. Prior to the advent of broad-spectrum antibiotics, tubo-ovarian abscesses necessitated total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Although it carries a risk of treatment failure, antibiotic therapy enabled fertility-sparing treatment for many women. Recent studies have identified key predictors for antibiotic treatment failure, including age, BMI and abscess diameter. C-reactive protein was also found to be a strong predictor of antibiotic treatment response. Given the growing evidence of treatment failure with antibiotic therapy alone, along with increased availability and access to interventional radiology, image-guided drainage with or without catheter placement, combined with broad-spectrum antibiotics, is now considered first-line therapy. Tubo-ovarian abscess is a diagnostic challenge, as presentation can vary. Inadequate treatment is associated with severe morbidity and mortality. Despite adequate conservative treatment, recurrence risk is high and clinical sequelae can have devastating effects on reproductive health. Recent evidence-based developments, including a risk score system to predict antibiotic failure, serve to provide appropriately directed risk-based care. However, large-scale randomized controlled trials are needed to clarify the most appropriate treatment modalities. Copyright © 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


Rohan Hattiangadi, Kelli McEntee, Marisa Dahlman. Minimally invasive approach to the management of tubo-ovarian abscesses. Current opinion in obstetrics & gynecology. 2021 Aug 01;33(4):249-254

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PMID: 34155166

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