Scrotum is the thin bag like tissue that is found behind the penis. There will be continuous blood flow into the scrotum normally. But when the testicle rotates suddenly it would twist the spermatic cord and stops the blood-flow into the scrotum. This condition is called testicular torsion and it commonly occurs on male children aged 12-17. Testicular torsion is a life threatening problem and needs to be operated immediately. Any delay in hospitalizing or proceeding with surgery can cause permanent damage to the scrotum resulting in removal of testicles.
There will be severe or sharp pain in the scrotum bag. For some it will appear in the form of intense abdominal pain. The scrotum area will develop inflammation due to cut-off blood supply. In rare cases, there may be nausea and vomiting. The testicle will be elevated in position at unusual angle.
For some men the testicle twisting would release automatically (called detorsioning) without requiring any treatment or surgery.
If you see any of the above symptoms like swelling of scrotum bag or sharp pain in the testicles you should visit your doctor immediately.
Exact cause for testicular torsion is not known.
The testicle rotates or twists around the spermatic cord which is responsible for bringing blood to the testicle. When it rotates several times, the blood flow can get blocked causing swelling of scrotum and testicles.
Some believe that testicular torsion is inherited by birth. Even small children can get this problem.
It may occur due to excess of physical activity, exposure to cold temperature for long time. Sudden injury to the scrotum area or blow can cause this problem. For some men it can occur while sleeping.
Who are at risk?
Adolescent men of age group 12-16 will often get testicular torsion. If you have family history of this problem, you have more chance. Even when the testicles have untwisted there is every chance for twisting it again.
It can lead to complications causing death to the testicle if the torsion is not treated for long time thereby blocking the blood supply.
Physical examination is enough to detect testicular torsion. He may look for the sharp pain on the scrotum region or swelling. He may order for scrotal ultrasound scan for checking the intensity of damage caused to the testicles.
Pictures of Testicular Torsion :
The only treatment available for treating testicular torsion is surgery.
For some men, your doctor may try doing manual detorsion to untwist the testicle. However this may recur anytime.
The surgeon will make a small incision on the scrotum bag after giving general anesthesia. He would gently untwist the spermatic cord to regulate blood supply. He would further stitch either one of the testicles or both deep inside the scrotum to prevent further rotation.
It is necessary to get it operated within 6 hours of torsion if you want the testicles in healthy position. Any delay beyond that time does not guarantee for retaining the testicles.
Testicular torsion can occur in infants that have to be surgically operated for untwisting.
Once the testicles die inside (without blood supply for long time) it has to be removed by surgery. In that case, the men cannot have a child in future.