High risk and low prevalence diseases: Testicular torsion

Aaron Lacy, Amanda Smith, Alex Koyfman, Brit Long

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: Testicular torsion is a serious condition that carries with it a high rate of morbidity. Objective: This review highlights the pearls and pitfalls of testicular torsion, including presentation, diagnosis, and management in the emergency department (ED) based on current evidence. Discussion: Testicular torsion is a urological emergency that occurs with rotation of the testicle along its supporting ligaments leading to obstruction of vascular flow. A key risk factor is the presence of a bell-clapper deformity. The most common population affected includes children in a bimodal distribution with the most cases occurring in the first year of life and between 12 and 18 years, although cases do occur in adults. Acute, severe, unilateral scrotal pain is the most common presenting symptom. Nausea and vomiting are common, but the presence or absence of a cremasteric reflex is not a reliable indicator of disease. The TWIST score may assist with clinical decision making in patients presenting with acute testicular pain but should not be used in isolation. If torsion is suspected or confirmed, consultation with the urology specialist should not be delayed, as outcomes are time sensitive. Ultrasound can be used for diagnosis, but a normal ultrasound examination cannot exclude the diagnosis. Treatment includes emergent urology consultation for surgical exploration and detorsion, as well as symptomatic therapy in the ED. Manual detorsion can be attempted in the ED while awaiting transfer or consultation. Conclusions: An understanding of testicular torsion can assist emergency clinicians in diagnosing and managing this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-104
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Acute scrotum
  • Testicular pain
  • Testicular torsion
  • Urology


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