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Testicular Torsion

What Is Testicular Torsion?

  • Testicular torsion is a surgical emergency that may result in the loss of the affected testicle if not treated promptly.
  • This is a painful condition caused by the twisting of the spermatic cord, which causes a loss of blood flow to the testicle.
  • Testicular tissue cannot survive without blood flow. Torsion is the most common cause of testicle loss in adolescent males.

What Causes Testicular Torsion?

The cause of the majority of cases is the bell clapper deformity, an anatomic abnormality that is present in some males. This anatomical condition allows the spermatic cord to twist more easily, resulting in compromise of the blood supply to the testicle. This can occur spontaneously or may be associated with trauma. There is no way to detect this deformity. In significant number of men who have this anatomical abnormality will have it in both testicles.

What Are the Symptoms of Testicular Torsion?

Testicular torsion is characterized by excruciating one-sided testicular pain, with sudden swelling. Since the cord structures twist (like the strings of a puppet), the testicle elevates as well. Patients may have nausea and vomiting. Patients may also have abdominal pain. There may be a history of previous testicular pain. Fever may also accompany the testicular pain.

Testicular torsion is seen most frequently in the 12-18-year-old age group, and most cases occur in men under 30 years of age. However, it can occur at any age, including newborns.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/15/2016
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Testicular Torsion »

Testicular torsion is a true urologic emergency and must be differentiated from other complaints of testicular pain because a delay in diagnosis and management can lead to loss of the testicle.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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