Testicular torsion occurs when the testicle twists around the cord (the structure extending from the groin to the testes that contains the sperm ducts and blood vessels),
Testicular Torsion Illustrationlike an apple twisting on its stem. When the blood vessels are twisted, they can cut off circulation to the testicle and cause permanent damage, including death of the testicle in as short a time as four hours. Testicular torsion causes severe testicular pain and usually occurs in boys 10 years and older. While it generally occurs in adolescent boys, it may also occur during fetal development or shortly after a baby is born.
In pre-adolescent and adolescent boys, torsion occurs primarily from incomplete attachment of the testes within the scrotum. This permits the testes to be more movable, allowing them to twist. Testicular torsion in the fetus results when the protective sac that surrounds the testicles within the scrotum does not attach to the scrotum internally.
Take your child to the emergency department immediately if he experiences any of the following symptoms:
Testicular torsion is diagnosed when a physician examines your child or with a scrotal ultrasound. During the scrotal ultrasound we look for blood flow to the testicle.
If your child has testicular torsion, we will perform an emergent operation to untwist the testicle and tack it down into the scrotum so it does not twist again. This will also be done to the opposite testicle.
Sometimes the testicle has been twisted for so long that it is dead and will need to be removed. The sooner your child is taken to the emergency department after the pain begins, the less likely the testicle will need to be removed.
Reviewed by: Division of Urology
Date: May 2011