What is testicular torsion?
Testicular torsion is a twisting of the spermatic cord within the scrotum that reduces, or completely stops, blood flow to the testis (testicle).
Testicular torsion is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.
Testicular torsion is most likely to happen in newborn or adolescent males, affecting around 1 in 22,000 to 1 in 33,000 males aged under 25 years each year1,2. About 60% of cases of testicular torsion occur in boys aged 12-18 years2.
Symptoms of testicular torsion
Testicular torsion causes severe pain, usually in the scrotum, that starts suddenly. In many cases, it causes pain in the abdomen, and can cause nausea and vomiting2.
The affected testicle might be in a different position or higher in the scrotum than normal. It’s usually slightly swollen and sore to touch.
Causes of testicular torsion
Testicular torsion occurs when the testicle rotates within the scrotum.
Usually, a connective tissue called the tunica vaginalis prevents the testicle from rotating. However, in some people, attachment of the tunica vaginalis allows the testicle to rotate, which can lead to testicular torsion.
Rotation of the testicle can also occur during vigorous activity or because of traumatic injury.
Diagnosis of testicular torsion
Testicular torsion is diagnosed based on a person’s symptoms, medical history and an examination. To confirm testicular torsion, an ultrasound examination of the scrotal contents will be performed to observe blood flow to the testes (testicles).
Treatment of testicular torsion
Testicular torsion requires immediate surgery to correct the problem2. The longer testicular torsion lasts, the greater the chance that the lack of blood flow will cause irreversible damage.
Health effects of testicular torsion
If testicular torsion is reversed quickly, irreversible damage to the testicle can be prevented. Surgery to reverse testicular torsion includes placement of stitches to hold the testicle in place, which may also be done for the other testicle.
What to do about testicular torsion
If you have sudden onset pain in the scrotum, seek medical help immediately.
Questions to ask your doctor about testicular torsion
• Will testicular torsion affect my fertility?
• What can I do to prevent testicular torsion from happening again?
• How long after treatment can I get back to normal activities?
 Lee et al., 2014. A Nationwide Epidemiological Study of Testicular Torsion in Korea. Journal of Korean Medical Science
 Srinath, 2013. Acute scrotal pain. Australian Family Physician