Testicular ultrasound; Testicular sonogram
Scrotal ultrasound is an imaging test that looks at the scrotum. It is the flesh-covered sac that hangs between the legs at the base of the penis and contains the testicles.
The testicles are the male reproductive organs that produce sperm and the hormone testosterone. They are located in the scrotum, along with other small organs, blood vessels, and a small tube called the vas deferens.
You lie on your back with your legs spread. The health care provider drapes a cloth across your thighs under the scrotum or applies wide strips of adhesive tape to the area. The scrotal sac will be slightly raised with the testicles lying side by side.
A clear gel is applied to the scrotal sac to help transmit the sound waves. A handheld probe (the ultrasound transducer) is then moved over the scrotum by the technologist. The ultrasound machine sends out high-frequency sound waves. These waves reflect off areas in the scrotum to create a picture.
No special preparation is needed for this test.
There is little discomfort. The conducting gel may feel slightly cold and wet.
A testicle ultrasound is done to:
The testicles and other areas in the scrotum appear normal.
Possible causes of abnormal results include:
There are no known risks. You will not be exposed to radiation with this test.
In certain cases, Doppler ultrasound may help identify blood flow inside the scrotum. This method can be helpful in cases of testicular torsion, because blood flow to the twisted testicle may be reduced.
Gilbert BR, Fulgham PF. Urinary tract imaging: basic principles of urologic ultrasonography. In: Partin AW, Dmochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 4.
Owen CA. Scrotum. In: Hagen-Ansert SL, ed. Textbook of Diagnostic Sonography. 8th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2018:chap 23.
Sommers D, Winter T. The scrotum. In: Rumack CM, Levine D, eds. Diagnostic Ultrasound. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 22.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 4/26/2020
Reviewed By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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