A true surgical emergency – here time is of critical importance. This chart on testicular torsion on A4Medicine describes the types of torsion and with the help of anatomical illustrations, the mechanism can be easy to understand. Presentation of testicular torsion and examination is described in detail. A simple illustration of the cremasteric reflex aids in the assessment. Detorsion within 6 hrs has a salvage rate of 90-100 %. The reader is presented with a differential diagnosis box to r/o other conditions.
Testicular torsion is a twist of the spermatic cord leading to cessation of testicular blood flow , ischaemia and infarction if left untreated Occurs most often in the neonatal period and around puberty ( bimodal with two peaks ) More common at puberty ○ peak incidence 13-15 yrs of age but it can occur in any age group Left > common than right Incidence in men < 25 yrs is 1 in 4000 intravaginal-Most common type Anatomic anomaly- Bell clapper deformity-↑↑ testicular mobility In adolescents and older males B/L in 40 % cases Extravaginal-More often in neonates In utero or around time of birth Both the spermatic cord & tunica vaginalis undergo torsion together – in or just below the inguinal canal
Presentation-Pain , duration , severity Speed of onset- sudden or gradual What was the patient doing when pain started Previous episodes – self limiting pain and swelling Other symptoms ○ LUTS ○ urethral discharge ○ parotid swelling –> mumps orchitis ○ back pain , breathlessness or weight loss –> metastatic testicular cancer H/O Trauma Sexual history Sudden onset hemiscrotal pain→ acute and excruciating Can sometimes wake the patient up from sleep Scrotal swelling , nausea and vomiting Pain may radiate to loin , groin or the epigastrium Poorly localized abdominal pain Sometimes h/o minor trauma to testis Pain may be intermittent – suggesting torsion and detorsion Patient may have slight fever but generally no urinary symptoms Usually unilateral Torsion in undescended testis is more common ( ten times ) and is more on left
Differential diagnosis-Strangulated hernias Torsion of testicular appendage- can mimick testiclar torsion ○ ischaemia of cyst of Morgagni ○ onset gradual ○ blue dot sign ○ localised pain at upper pole of testes ○ abscence of nausea and vomiting ○ cremasteric reflex present Clinical differentiation can be extremely difficult and advisable to manage as torsion – ie admit immediately Epididymo-orchitis ○ tender epididymis ○ isolated orchitis is rare ○ fever ○ history of dysuria , frequency and foul smelling urine may suggest epididymo-orchitis 2ary to UTI ○ urethritis , penile discharge ( often absent ) may indicate epididymo-orchitis 2 ary to a STI ○ mumps infection can cause epididymo-orchitis at any age Varicocele Scrotal trauma Appendicitis ( paediatric age group ) Inguinal hernia Testicular cancer Hydrocele ( acute ) Idiopathic scrotal oedema Scrotal vasculitis – usually 2ary to HSP Referred pain
Examination-Position size and symmetry of testes Skin- erythema Blue dot sign ○ tender nodule with blue discloloration on the upper pole of testes ○ can help in diagnosing- torsion of appendix of testis Check cremasteric reflex Examine and determine site of max tenderness ○ testes –> torsion testes ○ epididymis–> acute epididymitis ○ upper pole of testes–> torsion appendix testes Abdominal and inguinal examintion ( r/o hernia , appendicitis ) Testis usually swollen and exquisitely tender Affected testis tends to be retracted and highter in scrotum and usually horizontal Examination may not be possible due to pain Cremasteric reflex – absent ○ most sensitive clinical finding ○ What is it – stroking or pinching the medial thigh normally causes contraction of cremaster muscle –> elevation of testis ○ presence of reflex suggests but does not confirm abscence of testicular torsion Scrotal skin can become red and edematous Parotid swelling –> mumps orchitis Infants and young children may have no signs ○ testicular swelling non tender and hard at birth
True surgical emergency Admit immediately – urology or surgery Prompt restoration of blood supply to testicle is critical Irreversible ischaemic injury can begin within 4 hrs of spermatic cord occlusion ○ reduced fertility ○ death of testicle Complete testicular atrophy in most cases after 24 hrs Detorsion witthin 6 hrs –> salvage rate of 90-100 % Treatment is surgical - ○ orchidopexy ( if viable) ○ contraleteral testes must also be fixed ○ orchidectomy
Have a very low thresold for suspecting testicular torsion Testicular torsion can be difficult to exclude if symptoms atypical or intermittent- must be considered in all cases of scrotal pain