Testicular torsion occurs when a testicle rotates inside the scrotum, twisting the spermatic cord and reducing or even cutting off the blood supply to the testicle. It is considered a medical emergency because, if not treated quickly, the testicle may need to be removed.
Although possible at any age, it most often happens in boys aged 12 to 16 years.
The following risk factors increase the chance of developing this condition:
The main symptoms of testicular torsion are:
Diagnosis usually involves physical examination, palpation, a urine test, ultrasound, and possibly exploratory surgery.
If not treated in time, testicular damage or testicular death may occur depending on the extent and duration of reduced blood supply. In the latter case, the testicle needs to be removed.
Severe testicular pain and/or swelling should always be investigated as soon as possible by a medical professional. Pain caused by trauma (for example, by being kicked between the legs) usually goes away by itself within a few minutes but, if it does not, should also be investigated.