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Published: 30/03/2023

How to interpret the results of a testicular ultrasound

Ultrasound is a medical test that utilizes sound waves to create an image of an organ or part. It's commonly used to diagnose issues such as swelling or lump in the scrotum, testes, or epididymis.

A handheld transducer emits sound waves and sends them to a computer, which transforms them into images. The images can display various conditions from fluids in testicles to solid masses that may be cancerous.

What to Expect

Testicular ultrasound is a type of sonogram that uses reflected sound waves to create images of your testicles and scrotum. This test can also show the long, tightly coiled tubes behind each testicle which collect sperm (epididymis) as well as the tube connecting your testicles to your prostate gland (vas deferens).

This exam can be performed in the radiology department of a hospital or at your doctor's office by an experienced healthcare professional, and typically lasts no more than 30 minutes. You may need to remain still during this time.

Ultrasound imaging requires you to lie flat on an exam table that can be tilted or moved so the medical professional can take clear pictures of your testicles and scrotum. They will apply a water-based gel onto the scrotum area that allows the transducer to glide over skin with minimal friction.

On your back with your legs spread, a healthcare professional will place a transducer against your testicles and scrotum in sweeping motions. As it moves, sound waves are emitted by the transducer which are processed by computer to create an image of these structures.

Ultrasound imaging is a safe, painless procedure that does not use X-rays or other types of radiation. A radiologist will interpret the results of your testicular ultrasound and refer them to either your primary care provider or urologist, depending on what condition is being diagnosed.

Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer among men, and fortunately can usually be curable if detected early. Most cases are germ cell tumors - composed of cells responsible for producing sperm.

Germ cell tumors are malignant growths of cells on the body. They are divided into two categories: seminoma and nonseminoma.

If you notice a lump or swelling in your scrotum, testicular ultrasound can help determine whether it's cancerous and what material it's made of. This test is simple and painless - just pop the pill!

Ultrasound can also detect issues in your scrotum or epididymis, such as infections, inflammation and torsion. Torsions may restrict blood flow to the testicles and lead to fluid buildup around them.

What the Images Mean

Testicular ultrasound is one of the best ways to determine whether a lump in your testis is cancerous (malignant) or benign (benign). It may also assist in diagnosing conditions like testicular torsion, which causes pain and swelling.

On an exam table, you'll lie flat and a technician will apply warm, water-based gel to your penis. They then press what looks like a wand-shaped device over your skin (known as a transducer) for measurement purposes.

Sound waves from the device are sent to a computer, which then generates images on screen. A radiologist reviews these images and sends them on to your doctor; they'll call you shortly thereafter to explain the findings.

If you detect a lump or change in the shape of one of your testicles, contact your GP immediately. If they suspect cancer may be present, additional tests will be necessary.

Scrotal ultrasound scans use high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the inside of your testis, showing where and how large any lump may be.

Normally, the testis is enclosed within a fibrous capsule known as the tunica albuginea. Additionally, there are lobules surrounding it with blood vessels, lymphatics and nerves which serve to serve the testis.

Ultrasound can detect a wide variety of testicular conditions, such as testicular malignancies and germ cell tumors. Furthermore, it can identify calcifications and enlarged hydroceles.

Color Doppler ultrasonography can also be beneficial when it comes to assessing blood flow inside your scrotum. This is especially pertinent in cases of testicular torsion, which restricts circulation to the affected testis.

Furthermore, color Doppler imaging can detect when your testis are bleeding and this could indicate an infection of the testis. This information could potentially aid in diagnosing epididymitis - a condition common among young adolescent boys and male adults alike.

A testicular ultrasound can also assist in diagnosing scrotal wall cellulitis, which causes a lump that's hard to feel with your hands in your scrotum. This condition usually results from fluid buildup inside, but could also be indicative of more serious conditions like prostate cancer.

What the Images Don’t Mean

Ultrasound images of your testicles and scrotum may not always be definitive. Some images may suggest cancer, while others appear to be normal. Therefore, it's essential to comprehend what these images don't signify before visiting a physician.

Most lumps in your scrotum aren't cancerous, but could be anything from cysts to varicose veins inside of your testis. If the lump feels fluidy (like a hydrocele), then it likely isn't cancer. On the other hand, if it's solid and feels heavy, that could indicate testicular cancer.

If your doctor suspects you of having testicular cancer, they may order additional tests. One common procedure involves taking a blood test called a tumor marker which looks for certain hormones linked to this condition. If this marker is high, it indicates an active state; otherwise, further evaluation may be necessary.

Your healthcare provider will apply a thin gel onto your scrotum, and then move a small hand-held probe over it. Ultrasound pictures take pictures of both your scrotum and testicles, enabling your doctor to better visualize what lies within them.

Once your scrotum is in its normal position, the technician will gently slide a transducer around from different angles. This may cause some minor discomfort but should not cause any major harm.

To take good images, it's beneficial to be in a neutral position with your legs spread and feet on the ground. This will keep the scrotum from moving between them and make it easier to capture clear details.

When lying on your side or stomach, a technician will place special gel on your testicles and then move a hand-held probe over them. This allows them to see more clearly inside of you from an elevated position such as side or stomach viewing.

A radiologist reviews the images and then creates a report for your doctor to share. This provides them with more insight into your testicular health, enabling them to decide what tests should be ordered next.

Testicular cancer is more common among men than women, though it can occur in infants and older males as well. So if you are in your teens or twenties and notice changes to the appearance of your scrotum or experience pain or swelling in your testicles, make an appointment with your doctor right away.

What to Do

A testicular ultrasound, commonly referred to as a sonogram, is an imaging test that can assist in diagnosing testicular cancer and determining if it has spread outside of the testis.

Ultrasound of your testicles is a safe, noninvasive procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of organs inside your body. During the scan, a technician will apply gel onto your scrotum before moving a small device known as a transducer over it in sweeping motions.

The transducer produces sound waves as it moves, then bounces them off your organs in a series of echoes. These reflections are then processed by computer to produce images of your testicles and surrounding tissue.

Your doctor will use the ultrasound results to decide if further tests or treatment is necessary. They may suggest a biopsy, which involves taking a small sample of your testicle and studying it under a microscope.

If your doctor suspects testicular cancer, they may order a blood test to detect tumor markers. These tests can tell which type of cancer you have and how well it's responding to treatment.

A blood test can indicate whether your cancer has spread beyond the testicle. If so, a CT scan may be necessary to identify where exactly in your body the spread has occurred. The CT scan can show whether there are cancerous nodes and/or lymph nodes throughout your lungs and lymphatic system.

An MRI scan may also be conducted to examine your brain and spinal cord. These tests are usually only done after a testicular cancer has been identified, if your doctor suspects it has spread to other parts of your body.

Once the testicular ultrasound conclusion has been reached: Your doctor will review the images with you and explain their findings, as well as suggest next steps.

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Ultrasound London Clinic Address:
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Phone: 020 3633 4902 Email: info@sonoworld.co.uk or sonoworlduk@gmail.com
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