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Health Encylopedia

Testicle ultrasound
Definition The testicles are the male reproductive organs that produce sperm and the hormone testosterone . They are located in the scrotum (the flesh-covered sac that hangs between the legs at the base of the penis ). Testicle ultrasound is an imaging procedure to examine the testicles and other scrotal structures. The ultrasound machine sends out high-frequency sound waves, which reflect off scrotal structures to create a picture. There is no ionizing radiation exposure with this test.
Alternative Names Scrotal ultrasound; Testicular sonogram
How the test is performed You will be lying on your back with your legs spread. The health care provider will then drape a cloth or apply wide strips of adhesive tape across the thighs under the scrotum. The scrotal sac will then be slightly elevated with the testicles lying side by side. A clear, water-based conducting gel is applied to the scrotal sac to help with the transmission of the sound waves. The ultrasound transducer (a hand-held probe) is then moved over the scrotum.
How to prepare for the test Adults: No special preparation is necessary for this test. Children: The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child's age, interests, previous experience, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topic if it corresponds to your child's age:
  • Adolescent test or procedure preparation
  • (12 to 18 years)
  • How the test will feel There is little discomfort. The conducting gel may feel slightly cold and wet.
    Why the test is performed The ultrasound is done to help determine the cause of testicular enlargement or the reason for testicular pain.
    Normal Values The testicles and remaining scrotal structures are normal in appearance.
    What abnormal results mean Abnormal results may indicate a benign cyst (an abnormal sac containing fluid), a testicular tumor (abnormal tissue growth which may or may not be cancerous), an area of infection with or without abscess formation, a testicular torsion, or another problem.
    What the risks are There are no documented risks. No ionizing radiation exposure is involved.
    Special considerations In certain instances the use of Doppler ultrasound may be useful to identify blood flow within scrotal structures. For example, this is very helpful in the assessment of testicular torsion.