Testicular Torsion

Overview

What is testicular torsion?

Testicular torsion (say: “tess-tick-you-ler tor-shun”) occurs when the spermatic cord becomes twisted. This cuts off the blood supply to the testicles.

The cause of testicular torsion is usually not known. It is more common in infant boys and boys who are going through puberty. Each year, about 1 in 4,000 men younger than 25 years of age gets it.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of testicular torsion?

If you have testicular torsion, you will have severe pain in your scrotum. Your testicle may seem swollen or may look like it is higher in the scrotum than the other testicle. You may also have nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or blood in your semen.

Treatment

How is testicular torsion treated?

You will need to have surgery to untwist the spermatic cord. You doctor may also secure the testicles to prevent them from becoming twisted in the future. This procedure is called an orchiopexy.

How soon does testicular torsion need to be treated?

If you have pain in your scrotum, see your doctor right away. If you have testicular torsion, your testicle usually can be saved if you have surgery within 6 hours. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the damaged testicle will have to be removed.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • Is the swelling in my scrotum caused by testicular torsion?
  • Will I have to have surgery?
  • How long is the recovery time after surgery?
  • What can I do to make myself more comfortable after surgery?
  • Will I be able to have children?
  • Will my sex life be normal?
  • If I’ve had testicular torsion once, am I more likely to get it again?

Citations

  • Testicular Torsion by E Ringdahl, MD, and L Teague, MD( 11/15/07, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20061115/1739.html)