Indexed on: 13 Jan '06Published on: 13 Jan '06Published in: The Journal of Urology®
We determined the use of scrotal ultrasonography in the initial diagnosis and management of testicular injuries due to blunt scrotal trauma.We performed a retrospective review of 65 patients presenting to our Emergency Department with blunt scrotal trauma in the last 25 years. In 47 patients an inconclusive clinical examination prompted scrotal ultrasonography. A heterogeneous echo pattern of the testicular parenchyma with loss of contour definition was the basis for diagnosis of testicular rupture. The sensitivity and specificity of scrotal ultrasonography were determined by comparing this radiographic criterion with definitive intraoperative findings and the need for delayed orchiectomy due to undiagnosed testicular rupture.Of the 65 patients sustaining blunt scrotal trauma 44 (68%) underwent scrotal exploration, and 30 (46%) of these injuries involved rupture of the tunica albuginea. Among the 47 scrotal ultrasounds performed to supplement a nondiagnostic clinic examination, there were 32 suspected testicular ruptures. Thus, the 2 false-positives resulted in a specificity of 93.5% in those patients explored. No delayed orchiectomies were performed for missed testicular ruptures, resulting in 100% sensitivity. The majority of testicular ruptures were salvaged (83%), with only 5 of the 30 (17%) requiring orchiectomy (4 of these patients had delayed presentation greater than 48 hours).Scrotal ultrasonography, with the single radiographic finding of a heterogeneous echo pattern of the testicular parenchyma with loss of contour definition, is highly sensitive and specific in the diagnosis of testicular rupture in an otherwise equivocal scrotal examination. Accurate diagnosis and prompt repair led to a salvage rate for testicular rupture specifically of 83% and overall of 92%, with preservation of the testicular parenchyma and hormonal function, and avoidance of the delayed complications of chronic pain, atrophy and orchiectomy associated with missed testicular rupture.