Testicular torsion is a painful twisting of a boy’s testicles and
spermatic cord. The spermatic cord is a set of nerves, ducts, and blood vessels that
leads from the groin to the testicles. Torsion can happen to one or both testicles.
Torsion causes blood to not flow to the testicles. This can damage them. Treatment needs
to be done right away to prevent long-lasting (permanent) injury to the testicles.
Testicular torsion in young boys and teen boys occurs when the testicles are not completely attached in the scrotum. This lets the testicles move more freely and twist. Torsion may happen during physical activity.
Testicular torsion in a baby happens when the sac around the testicles doesn’t attach to the scrotum.
Testicular torsion often occurs in boys ages 10 and older. It can
also happen when a baby is growing in the mother's uterus, or shortly after a baby is
born. The condition is sometimes seen in fathers, sons, and brothers. This means it may
be linked to a gene.
The severity of the symptoms
depends on if the testicle is partly or fully twisted. Symptoms can occur a bit
differently in each child. The scrotum may be:
Your child may also have nausea and vomiting.
Testicular torsion is a surgical
emergency. If you think that your son has testicular torsion, he should be taken to an
emergency department right away for evaluation.
The symptoms of testicular torsion
can seem like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his healthcare
provider, or is seen in the emergency department, for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and
health history. He or she may also ask about your family’s health history. The provider
will give your son a physical exam. He may also have tests, such as an ultrasound. This
is a painless imaging test that uses sound waves to see the scrotum and testicles and
check blood flow.
Testicular torsion often needs to
be treated right away. The more severe the torsion, the more quickly treatment is
needed. In some cases, the torsion may be untwisted by hand. But surgery is still needed
to keep the testicle in place so torsion can’t occur again. To reduce the risk of
long-term problems, surgery should be done within 6 hours of symptoms. Surgery can also
help stop torsion from happening again.
Talk with your child’s healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all treatments.
If the condition is not treated quickly, it can lead to loss of the testicle.
Testicular torsion is a medical emergency. If you think that your son has testicular torsion, he should be taken to an emergency department right away for evaluation.
After surgery, call the healthcare provider if your child has:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
The University of Chicago Medicine
5841 S. Maryland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637 | 773-702-1000
Appointments: Call UCM Connect at 1-888-824-0200