Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. 

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Am Fam Physician. 2006;74(10):1746

See related article on testicular torsion.

What is testicular torsion?

Testicular torsion (tess-TICK-you-ler TOR-shun) is when a testicle gets twisted and the blood supply to the stalk is blocked (see drawing).

Who gets it and why?

The cause of testicular torsion usually is not clear. Testicular torsion does not happen very often. It is more common in boys who are going through puberty. Each year only one in 4,000 men younger than 25 years gets it.

How can I tell if I have testicular torsion?

You will have severe pain in your scrotum. Your testicle may seem swollen or may look like it is higher in the scrotum than the other testicle. Infection, cancer, or an injury also can cause pain in the scrotum.

How is testicular torsion treated?

You will need surgery to untwist the testicle. Doctors will make sure the scrotum does not twist again. They also will make sure the other testicle doesn't twist.

What else do I need to know?

If you have pain in your scrotum, see your doctor right away. If you have testicular torsion, your testicle usually can be saved if you have surgery within six hours. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that it will have to be removed.

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