Testicle torsion is twisting of the spermatic cord of the testicle, damaging the testicle -- sometimes irreversibly. Testicle torsion usually occurs on one side only. Prompt treatment is necessary to salvage the affected testicle. The testicle, the spermatic cord, and the blood supply to each are involved. Testicle torsion can affect males of all ages but is most common in adolescents (12 to 20 years).
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
Surgery to untangle the twisted spermatic cord and to attach the affected testicle to the inside scrotal wall, which prevents recurrence. The surgeon will probably operate on the boy's unaffected testicle also to prevent torsion.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSSudden pain in one testicle.
Swelling, redness, and tenderness of the scrotum.
Nausea and vomiting.
Rapid heartbeat, if pain is severe.
Usually unknown. It is occasionally present at birth, or it may rarely be caused by an injury or the sudden forceful contraction of muscles attached to the testicle and spermatic cord.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEYour son should wear an athletic supporter or cup when participating in contact sports to prevent genital injury.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSDeath of cells in the testicle caused by a diminished or blocked blood supply. This strangulation requires removal of the boy's affected testicle and spermatic cord.
PROBABLE OUTCOMESometimes the torsion will correct itself, symptoms will disappear and no treatment will be needed for your son. However, the testicle is usually injured beyond repair unless surgery is done within 3 to 4 hours after symptoms begin.
If one of your son's testicles must be removed, the remaining healthy testicle should provide enough hormones for normal male maturation, sex life, and reproduction.
After surgery, use ice packs to relieve the boy's pain and swelling. Wrap the ice in plastic. Apply it to the affected side, separating the ice from the boy's skin with a cloth towel. Apply ice 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Repeat as often as necessary.
Your son will need to return to your doctor for suture removal in about 7 days.
MEDICATIONAfter surgery, your doctor may prescribe pain relievers.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your son can resume normal activities gradually after surgery.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?After surgery, when appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your son has symptoms of testicular torsion. This is an emergency!
Signs of infection begin after surgery. These include fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, dizziness, and a general ill feeling.
Excessive bleeding occurs at the surgical site.