Cincinnati Children's Blog

Diagnosing Urgent Cases Like Testicular Torsion

Diagnosing Urgent Cases Like Testicular Torsion

As radiologists, we are available and help the emergency room with the diagnosis of many urgent cases. One emergency that is seen is testicular torsion (sometimes called twisted testicle).

Testicular torsion is when the testicle twists in the scrotum and then the blood supply is compromised. If a patient has testicular torsion then the testicle may die and need to be removed. Testicular torsion, which can occur when the testicle is not well attached to the adjunct tissues, can happen quickly. The amount of time that the testicle is twisted or torsed needs to be minimized. Patients usually present with a new pain in their scrotum, and they need to go to the emergency room immediately and get an ultrasound of the testicle for evaluation. 

As radiologists, we are available for interpretation of the ultrasound exam. On an ultrasound, we will be able to see the testicles and blood flow of the testicles. If there is no blood flow to the testicle then the patient will need surgery as soon as possible to restore the blood flow to the testicle. If surgery is performed soon enough, then usually the testicle can be saved. If not, the testicle will need to be removed.

Image: Here is an example of an ultrasound picture with both testicles and no blood flow in the right testicle and normal blood flow in the left (area with color).

Testicular torsion is one of the many urgent cases the Radiology Department helps with in the emergency room. Our partnership and collaboration with other Cincinnati Children’s departments are what make us an integral part of the hospital so that we can better serve our patients and families.

Dr. Kathy Helton-Skally, author; Glenn Miñano, BFA, editor; Meredith Towbin, copyeditor.

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