What is testicular torsion?

The spermatic cord is the vessel that provides blood flow to the testicle. Testicular torsion is when the spermatic cord gets twisted, cutting off that blood supply. This can happen in males who have an inherited trait that allows the testicle to rotate inside the scrotum. Roughly 10% of males are genetically capable of this problem. The problem usually occurs in men and boys under the age of 25 but is most common in babies under one year of age and adolescent boys. Sometimes, the condition occurs in utero.

What are symptoms of testicular torsion?

In some cases, your child will experience sudden testicle pain that goes away without treatment. This happens when the testicle twists and untwists on its own. But usually, testicular torsion causes sudden, often severe pain and swelling in one testicle. Your child also may experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, and/or light-headedness. Often, the condition is not triggered by any particular event, but sometimes it can occur after physical activity, an injury to the scrotum, exposure to cold weather, or sexual arousal. When this happens, seek emergency treatment because the lack of blood supply to the testicle can permanently damage the testicle, cause infection, and may affect your son's ability to father children in the future.

What is the treatment?

In some cases, physicians can untwist the testicle by pushing on the outside of the scrotum. Other times, the twisting can only be relieved through surgery. Either way, your child will require surgery because, after the affectedtesticle is untwisted, both testicles must be secured to the inside of the scrotum to prevent further incidents of testicular torsion.

About surgery for testicular torsion at Children's

Surgery for testicular torsion is one of the most common surgeries performed at Children's. The surgery typically is performed by pediatric general surgeons or pediatric urology surgeons, depending on the unique condition and needs of your child. Surgery teams at Children's provide next-generation care to neonatal infants, newborns, children, and adolescents from throughout the Upper Midwest and consistently performs some of the most cutting-edge surgical procedures available, including newborn surgery, laparoscopic and other minimally invasive surgeies, and robotic surgery, when appropriate. Surgery for testicular torsion is performed at Children's - Minneapolis and Children's - St. Paul.

Contact Us

  • If your child has symptoms of testicular torsion, visit Children's emergency room at Children's - Minneapolis or Children's - St. Paul.
  • If you are looking for a Children's specialist in general surgery or urology surgery, please visit Find a Doctor or call the Center for Pediatric Urology at 1-800-992-6983.
  • If you are a health professional looking for a consultation or referral information, please call Children's Physician Access at 1-866-755-2121 (toll-free).