Testicular torsion

This painful condition refers to a twisting of the spermatic cord which connects to the testicle. This can cut off the blood supply to the testicle, and if left untreated may lead to the loss of the testicle.

Torsion appears to be often associated with an anatomical variation in the attachment of the testicle (so called bell clapper deformity).

Whist this is a condition that theoretically can affect any age group it is most common in men under the age of 25.

The symptoms include severe pain in the testicle, scrotal swelling, abdominal pain, and fever, frequent desire to pass urine, nausea and vomiting.

Between 80 and 100% of testicles can be saved if operated on within 6 hours. After 12 hours it is very unlikely that it will be possible to save the testicle. Any man who develops symptoms suggestive of torsion should seek immediate medical advice. To save time it is probably quicker to go straight to a hospital emergency department.

Treatment involves an operation to untwist the testicle and fix it in position, so that it is unlikely to twist again. The opposite side is often fixed at the same time.

Further information

This article published on
12 December 2005

Next review date 12/1/2013


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