Testicular ultrasound

Is a test that uses reflected sound waves to show a picture of the testicles and scrotum . The test can show the long, tightly coiled tube that lies behind each testicle and collects sperm (epididymis).

This study is typically used to:

  • Determine whether a mass in the scrotum felt by the patient or doctor is cystic or solid and its location.
  • Diagnose results of trauma to the scrotal area.
  • Diagnose causes of testicular pain or swelling such as inflammation or torsion.
  • Evaluate the cause of infertility such as varicocele.
  • Look for the location of undescended testis.
  • Evaluation of testicular swelling or masses 
  • Testicular trauma
  • Infertility
  • Undescended testis (vanishing testes or impalpable testis in children
  • Male hypogonadism
  • Testicular interventions (eg, ultrasound-guided aspiration, biopsy, epididymal ablation)
  • Postvasectomy pain

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined.

You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.

No other preparation is required.

How is the procedure performed?

For most ultrasound exams, you will be positioned lying face-up on an examination table that can be tilted or moved. Patients may be turned to either side to improve the quality of the images.

After you are positioned on the examination table, the radiologist (a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations) or sonographer will apply a warm water-based gel to the area of the body being studied. The gel will help the transducer make secure contact with the body and eliminate air pockets between the transducer and the skin that can block the sound waves from passing into your body. The transducer is placed on the body and moved back and forth over the area of interest until the desired images are captured.

There is usually no discomfort from pressure as the transducer is pressed against the area being examined. However, if scanning is performed over an area of tenderness, you may feel pressure or minor pain from the transducer.

Once the imaging is complete, the clear ultrasound gel will be wiped off your skin. Any portions that are not wiped off will dry to a powder. The ultrasound gel does not stain or discolor clothing.

  • An infection in testicle
  • A benign cyst
  • A testicular torsion, which is a twisted spermatic cord restricting blood flow to testicle
  • A testicular tumor
  • A hydrocele, which is a benign collection of fluid around testicle
  • A spermatocele, which is a fluid-filled cyst on the ducts of testicle
  • A varicocele, which is an enlarged vein in the spermatic cord of testicle

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