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.
Testicular ultrasound; Testicular sonogram
Shaida N, Berman L. Male Genitourinary Tract. In: Adam A, Dixon AK, Gillard JH, et al. eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 6th ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2014:chap 40.
Updated by: Jason Levy, MD, Northside Radiology Associates, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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