Testicular Torsion

Testicular Torsion

What is testicular torsion?

Testicular torsion happens when the spermatic cord becomes twisted. The spermatic cord supports the testes in the scrotum. When the cord twists, the blood supply to the testicle is cut off. If it’s not treated quickly, the testicle can die and will have to be removed. Or it can become so damaged that it won’t work right anymore.

The cause of testicular torsion is usually not known. Some males have changes in their anatomy that make the testicles more likely to twist. It can happen to males of any age. It is most common in newborns and teenagers.

Symptoms of testicular torsion

  • Sudden, severe pain in the testicles or scrotum. This pain may occur after trauma to the testicle or for no clear reason.
  • One testicle may seem swollen. It might look like it is higher in the scrotum than the other testicle.
  • Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, or blood in the semen.

What causes testicular torsion?

The cause of testicular torsion is usually not known. Some males have changes in their anatomy that make the testicles more likely to twist. It can happen to males of any age. It is most common in newborns and teenagers.

How is testicular torsion diagnosed?

Testicular torsion is an emergency. You or your child should see your doctor as soon as possible. He or she will do a physical exam. They might order a urine test or an ultrasound of the scrotum.

Your doctor needs to treat the torsion within 4 to 8 hours after the symptoms start. Then the testicle can usually be saved. If you wait longer, especially more than 24 hours, the testicle could be permanently damaged or have to be removed.

Can testicular torsion be prevented or avoided?

In many cases, the cause is unknown and can’t be avoided. But always take steps so that you or your child can avoid injuring the scrotum.

Testicular torsion treatment

Most of the time, you or your child will need to have surgery right away. During the surgery, your doctor will untwist the spermatic cord. He or she may also secure the testicles so they don’t become twisted in the future. This procedure is called an orchiopexy. Surgery that is performed within 6 hours can usually save the testicle.

Living with testicular torsion

If you or your child have pain in the scrotum, see your doctor right away. If testicular torsion is found and treated early, the testicle may continue to function properly. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that the damaged testicle will have to be removed. It is important to follow up with your doctor after surgery to see if the testicle is working normally.

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 after surgery?
  • If I’ve had testicular torsion once, am I more likely to get it again?

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