Testicular Trauma Clinical Presentation

Updated: Sep 18, 2019
  • Author: Ryan P Terlecki, MD; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Presentation

History

Patients with testicular trauma typically present to the emergency department with a straightforward history of injury (eg, sports injury, kick to the groin, gunshot wound) soon after the event occurs.

Patients who have sustained severe blunt trauma usually exhibit symptoms of extreme scrotal pain, frequently associated with nausea and vomiting. When evaluating a patient with a clinical history of only minor trauma, do not overlook the possibility of testicular torsion or epididymitis

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Physical Examination

Physical examination often reveals a swollen, severely tender testicle with a visible hematoma. Scrotal or perineal ecchymosis may be present. Bilateral testicular examination and perineal examination should always be performed to rule out associated pathologies. However, because of the severe pain the patient experiences, performing a thorough examination is often difficult, and radiologic evaluation or surgical exploration may be required.

Testicular rupture is associated with immediate pain, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes fainting. The hemiscrotum is tender, swollen, and ecchymotic. The testis itself may be difficult to palpate. [4]  

Most blunt testicular injuries are unilateral and isolated (ie, without other associated injuries). The absence of scrotal swelling and hematoma may indicate a relatively benign injury. Additional imaging tests or scrotal exploration is required if testicular rupture is suggested because of clinical findings or when a patient experiences pain out of proportion to the physical examination findings. Blunt trauma to the testes may manifest as a hematocele or a ruptured testis. The complete absence of pain in a patient with scrotal swelling and hematoma raises the possibility of testicular infarction or spermatic cord torsion.

For penetrating injuries, determine the entrance and exit sites of the wound. Up to 75% of men with penetrating injuries to the genitalia demonstrate additional associated injuries. Carefully examine the contralateral hemiscrotum and the perineal area. Rule out injuries to the contralateral testicle, bulbar urethra, and rectum. Also evaluate the femoral vessels, as major vascular insult in the thigh region is the most commonly reported associated injury. Although uncommon, vascular injury subsequently leading to an ischemic testis has been reported.

Using universal precautions when evaluating these injuries is important. One review of 40 men with penetrating trauma revealed that 38% tested positive for hepatitis Bhepatitis C, or both. An additional consideration in these cases is that, according to Cline et al in 1998, 60% of these patients were legally intoxicated at the time of injury. [21]

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