Scrotal pathology in pediatrics with sonographic imaging.Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. 2000 Nov-Dec; 29(6):185-205.CP
Scrotal pathology in pediatrics ranges from the more benign hydrocele and varicocele to acute testicular torsion requiring emergent surgery. Malignant testicular tumors can be insidious in onset or may present acutely when trauma brings a swollen scrotum to the patient's or physician's attention. Three common conditions can present as an acute scrotum, all of which can suggest testicular torsion clinically. Epididymitis often has a less acute onset than testicular torsion, although it does not always present with a straightforward diagnosis. Although it is generally an inflammatory process affecting males from 9 to 14 years of age, it can be seen in younger males with Henoch-Schonlein purpura and Kawasaki disease. Torsion of the appendix of the testis and epididymis can present acutely and mimic acute testicular torsion and generally occurs from 6 to 12 years of age. Testicular torsion itself usually occurs from 12 to 18 years of age and usually results from the anatomical "bell-and-clapper" deformity. Infarction of the testis can occur within as early as 4 to 6 hours after torsion, depending on the duration of symptoms and degree of twist of the spermatic cord. Advances in ultrasound technology in recent years have made ultrasound the examination of choice for imaging scrotal pathology, whether acute or chronic in nature. Doppler technology has tremendously increased the radiologist's ability to assess flow within the prepubertal testicle, which allows assessment of viability in the undescended testis as well as in neonatal torsion. The ability of ultrasound to diagnose the pathogenesis of the acute scrotum is unsurpassed by any other imaging modality. Ultrasound is a readily available, noninvasive examination without radiation that provides excellent anatomic detail and serves as an important and tremendously helpful imaging modality in all types of pediatric scrotal pathology.