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Testicular torsion is a surgical emergency, and clinicians caring for adolescent males must have a high index of suspicion given the short window for salvage of the testicle. Common presentation includes abrupt onset of severe scrotal pain with associated nausea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal pain.1-3 Symptomatic males may describe prior transient episodes of scrotal pain consistent with intermittent torsion/detorsion.1 The exact etiology of torsion is unknown. However, a well-described anatomical abnormality called the “bell clapper” deformity can predispose to testicular torsion (see Figure 75-1). In this deformity, the tunica vaginalis completely surrounds the testicle, including the posterior aspect, and the absence of the normal posterior anchoring allows the testicle to twist freely. On physical examination, if the adolescent presents early, the testicle may have a horizontal lie with minimal swelling.1-3 Typically, the adolescent presents later, and the scrotum is swollen, tender, erythematous, and often difficult to examine.1-4 The cremasteric reflex is nearly always absent.1-3 Diagnosis can be made on physical examination or with the assistance of color Doppler ultrasound, which has a sensitivity of 89% to 100% and a specificity of 77% to 100%.2,4 Time is of the essence because testicular viability declines to zero after 24 hours.2-4 Treatment involves prompt surgical exploration and detorsion. Given the high incidence of retorsion, as well as torsion of the contralateral testis, once detorsed, the affected testis and the contralateral testis are fixed to the scrotum in a procedure called scrotal orchiopexy.2,3

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Figure 75-1.
Graphic Jump Location

A: The normal testicle. B: Bell clapper deformity in which the tunica vaginalis completely surrounds the testicle, including the posterior aspect, such that the normal posterior anchoring is absent. C: Early presentation of torsion with swelling and horizontal lie of the testicle. D: Torsion of the testicle.

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Both the testis and the epididymitis have appendages (see Figure 75-2) that are remnants of the wolffian and müllerian ducts, respectively.3 The typical presentation of appendiceal torsion occurs in boys ages 7 to 12 years and includes pain that may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.2 Palpation of the testis reveals tenderness over the superior or inferior pole of the testes with or without a palpable mass.5 The cremasteric reflex is usually present. The classic “blue dot” sign, if present, represents the infarcted appendage viewed through the scrotal skin.1,3,5 The diagnosis is usually made on clinical examination. If torsion of the testis cannot be ruled out, a color flow Doppler examination is indicated.5 Treatment is usually supportive, including analgesics, anti-inflammatory agents, and scrotal elevation.1 If pain persists for longer than 5 days, consultation by a pediatric urologist is recommended.3

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Trauma may be ...

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