Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In testicular torsion the spermatic cord that provides the blood supply to a testicle is twisted, cutting off the blood supply, often causing orchalgia. Prolonged testicular torsion will result in the death of the testicle and surrounding tissues.
Testicular torsion is a medical emergency that needs immediate treatment. While it is more frequent among adolescents, it should be considered in all cases where there is testicular pain. Torsion occurs more frequently in patients who do not have evidence of inflammation or infection.
Emergency testing for torsion may be indicated when the onset of pain is sudden and/or severe, or the test results available during the initial examination do not enable a diagnosis of urethritis or urinary tract infection to be made. An ultrasound scan of the scrotum, if available, is of immense help in the diagnosis. If the diagnosis is questionable, an expert should be consulted immediately, because testicular viability may be compromised.
With prompt diagnosis and treatment the testicle can be saved in a high number of cases (see references below).
In an episode of the animated television series The Venture Bros., one of the title characters, Dean, is afflicted with testicular torsion. At the end of the show, the Venture clan present a sarcastic Public Service Announcement for the "Scrotal Safety Commission". "Stop. Touch. Tell."
- Arce JD, Cortes M, Vargas JC. Sonographic diagnosis of acute spermatic cord torsion. Rotation of the cord: a key to the diagnosis. Pediatr Radiol. 2002 Jul;32(7):485-91. Epub 2002 Apr 10.
- Cattolica EV, Karol JB, Rankin KN, Klein RS. High testicular salvage rate in torsion of the spermatic cord. J Urol. 1982 Jul;128(1):66-8.
- Scrotal Safety Commission(A Satirical Site on Testicular Torsion)
Adapted from the public domain document Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1998 Guidelines for Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. MMWR 1998;47(No. RR-1) at http://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/STD/STD98TG/STD98T12.HTM and other sources.
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