Torsion of the testis; Testicular ischemia; Testicular twisting
Definition of Testicular torsion
Testicular torsion is the twisting of the spermatic cord, which cuts off the blood supply to the testicle and surrounding structures within the scrotum.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Some men may be predisposed to testicular torsion as a result of inadequate connective tissue within the scrotum. However, the condition can result from trauma to the scrotum, particularly if significant swelling occurs. It may also occur after strenuous exercise or may not have an obvious cause.
Surgery is usually required and should be performed as soon as possible after symptoms begin. If surgery is performed within 6 hours, most testicles can be saved.
If the condition is diagnosed quickly and immediately corrected, the testicle may continue to function properly. After 6 hours of torsion (impaired blood flow), the likelihood that the testicle will need to be removed increases. However, even with less than 6 hours of torsion, the testicle may lose its ability to function.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/22/2009