A testicular torsion is when the spermatic cord that leads to a testicle twists or flips around, cutting off the blood supply to the testicle and scrotum. If a torsion is not diagnosed or treated right away, it could lead to loss of the testicle and possibly sterility or not being able to father a child or impregnate.
Torsion is most commonly seen in young males or adolescent males with approximately 65 percent of the cases affecting males in between 12 – 18 years old. Statistics show that testicular torsion occurs in about 1 in 160 males or 1 in 4000 boys per year before the age of 25.
Testicular torsion can be caused by:
In adolescents and men, symptoms of a testicular torsion are:
Because many of the symptoms of a testicular torsion are similar to an infection or epididymitis, many testicular torsions go undiagnosed and the patient is just treated for an infection or sexually transmitted disease.
If a male presents to a physician or the emergency room with testicular pain, they should be evaluated to rule out a testicular torsion. In general, a Doppler ultrasound that shows blood flow should be performed in addition to a history and physical and tests to rule out an infection. If there is no blood flow seen on the Doppler study and a testicular torsion is diagnosed, surgical de-torsion or de-rotation may be necessary.
A prompt diagnosis and treatment of a testicular torsion may save the testicle in a high number of cases. In some cases, the testicle may untwist on its own or be manually untwisted by a physician or urologist. If treatment is rendered within 6 hours of the onset of the torsion, the testicle has an excellent chance (90%) of being saved. If 12 hours have passed, the success rate drops to 50% and after 24 hours there is only a 10% chance of saving the testicle.
Once the testicle is dead, it must be removed to prevent an infection or gangrene. In some patients, a lack of blood flow to the testicle or ischemia can cause an anti-sperm antibody production that could result in sterility or inability to father a child.
Testicular torsions can happen in the absence of medical negligence. However, once torsion occurs, it must be promptly diagnosed and treated to preserve the testicle and future reproductive ability. If you or a loved one developed a testicular torsion and there was a delay in diagnosing the torsion that led to the loss of a testicle or sterility, please feel free to contact one of our experienced lawyers, doctors, or nurses for a confidential and free consultation.
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