Testicular torsion is defined as a torsion of the spermatic cord resulting in the loss of blood supply to the testicle.
Intravaginal testicular torsion brings about a sudden onset of sever unilateral scrotal pain which is often followed by inguinal and/or scrotal swelling . Gradual onset of pain is an uncommon presentation. Torsion may happen following physical activity or sports. It can also be related to trauma in around 4 to 8% of cases. It can also develop spontaneously.
Generally, one third of patients present with gastrointestinal upset followed by nausea and vomiting. In the pediatric group, nausea and vomiting often leads to a positive diagnosis 96% of the time.
Diagnosis for this condition is often made based on the history of the individual and the signs and symptoms they present . In cases where the history and physical examinations are convincing enough, instant surgery can commence. A Doppler ultrasound can be used when diagnosis is not clear. Diagnostic procedures must however, not delay treatment. The cost of surgery following unsure diagnosis is far lower than the cost of testicular loss as a result of delayed treatment following lengthy diagnostic procedures.
Successful management of spermatic cord torsion is measured by immediate testicular salvage as well as the incidence of late testicular atrophy . The length of time between onset of symptoms and detorsion (treatment) and the corresponding rate of successful testicular salvage is as follows:
The complications of testicular torsion include:
In neonates or fetus, extravaginal torsion often occurs because the testes may freely rotate before the development of testicular fixation through the tunica vaginalis within the scrotum .
With normal testicular suspension comes firm fixation of the epididymal-testicular complex posteriorly and this generally prevents the spermatic cords from twisting. In males with the bell-clapper condition, torsion often occurs as a result of a lack of fixation and this leads to the testes becoming freely suspended within the tunica vaginalis.
An abnormal mesentery between the testes as well as its blood supply can predispose it to torsion as long as the testicle is broader than the mesentery. Contraction of the spermatic muscles usually shortens the spermatic cords and can also lead to testicular torsion.
Extarvaginal torsion is the cause of 5% of all torsion cases . Out of these 5% of cases, 70% will occur prenatally and the other 30% will occur postnatally. Extravaginal torsion is often linked with high birth weight. Bilateral perinatal torsion is believed to be rare but there has been an increase in reported number of cases, with 56 cases currently documented in diverse literature.
Intravaginal torsion is the cause of 16% of cases. This type of testicular torsion is mostly seen in males who are younger than 30 years of age with majority of cases affecting people aged 12 to 18 years. The peak of incidence is placed at 13 to 14 years. The left testis is often most affected with bilateral cases only accounting for 2% of all torsions.
The incidence of torsion in males that are younger than 25 is approximately 1 in 4000.
Familial testicular tension has been described as 11.4% of cases have a positive family history.
The testicle is able to rotate freely in the spermatic cord within the tunica vaginalis amongst males who have a very high attachment of the tunica vaginalis as well as abnormal fixation to the muscles and fascial coverings of the spermatic cord . This anomaly is congenital and is referred to as the bell-clapper deformity. It often results in the long axis of the testicle showing transverse orientation instead of showing cephalocaudal orientation.
This congenital abnormality is seen in 12% of males and is bilateral in around 40% of cases. The bell-clapper deformity makes it possible for the testicle to twist spontaneously on the spermatic cord. Torsion is seen when the testicle rotates between 90° and 180°. This normally compromises blood flow to and from the testicle. When the testicle twists 360° or more, complete torsion is said to have occurred. Incomplete or partial torsion often occurs with lesser degrees of rotation. In some cases, degree of torsion may extend to as much as 720°.
Testicular torsion is defined as the torsion of the spermatic cord structures. When this happens there is a loss of blood supply to the ipsilateral testicle . The condition is treated as an emergency because the preservation of the testicle and ultimately fertility is dependent on early diagnosis and treatment.
Testicular torsion is a disease that primarily affects adolescents and neonates and it is the main cause of testicular loss within this age.
Surgical treatment helps prevent additional ischemic damage to the testis. Observation, instead of treatment may be appropriate in some cases however, depending on pathology . Diagnosis of testicular torsion is clinically and it is very important for diagnostic procedures to not get in the way of early treatment.