How is testicular torsion treated?

A testicular torsion must be treated with surgery, although an emergency room doctor may try to manually untwist the cord. Even in these cases, surgery will be needed. During surgery for testicular torsion, the surgeon will untwist the testicle, restoring blood flow to the area. He or she will then secure it with sutures to the inner scrotal wall to prevent future torsions.

The surgeon will usually perform the surgery through the scrotum, although sometimes they will need to make an incision through the groin. They will also fix the unaffected testicle to prevent future torsion because a bell clapper usually exists on both sides.

Studies have shown that if surgery is delayed more than six hours, it is very likely the testicle will need to be removed. This occurs in more than 75 percent of cases after 12 hours.

Unfortunately, newborns with testicular torsion often lose their testicle because the blood flow has been interrupted far too long and the tissue has died (become infarcted). Surgery will still be performed to remove the dead testicle and suture the other testicle so it does not become twisted later in life.

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