Hungarian Radiology

[Ultrasound of the acute pediatric scrotum]

COLEY D. Brian1

DECEMBER 10, 2005

Hungarian Radiology - 2005;79(06)

[Proper evaluation of the acute scrotum, like any condition, starts with a history and physical examination by an experienced clinician. Often this is all that is needed to arrive at an accurate diagnosis, which then allows prompt and appropriate treatment. However, the true nature of the underlying disease producing scrotal pain is not always clear, and the consequences of error (testicular loss) are undesirable. Ultrasound is the single most useful imaging tool for imaging the scrotum. While nuclear medicine studies can help assess blood flow, the combination of anatomic detail provided by modern ultrasound equipment and the ability to assess blood flow and perfusion with color Doppler makes ultrasound invaluable. Properly performed and interpreted, ultrasound provides very high sensitivity and specificity for acute scrotal conditions. Understanding of the conditions that produce acute scrotal pain in children will improve one’s diagnostic abilities. The most important diagnosis to consider is testicular torsion, since untreated this will result in testicular death. While testicular torsion can occur at any age, it is most common in the perinatal and peripubertal age groups. Torsion of a testicular appendage is a frequent cause of scrotal pain in prepubertal males. The sonographic findings can mimic epididymitis, but diligent and focused sonographic examination can make the diagnosis. Epididymitis typically affects postpubertal males, but can be seen in younger patients with functional or anatomic urinary tract anomalies. Sonographic evaluation of the post-traumatic painful scrotum can help to differentiate injuries that can be managed conservatively and those that require surgery. Less common causes of scrotal pain include hernias and hydroceles, vasculitis, and idiopathic edema. Understanding the characteristic sonographic features of these conditions allows the examining physician to make more accurate and confident diagnoses. It is hoped that this review article will help to promote this understanding.]

AFFILIATIONS

  1. Department of Radiology, Columbus Children’s Hospital

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