Does color Doppler sonography improve the clinical assessment of patients with acute scrotum?Eur J Radiol. 2006 Oct; 60(1):120-4.EJ
INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES
Our experience concerning the use of color Doppler sonography (CDS) in the differential diagnosis of acute scrotum is reported.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
From July 2000 to July 2005, 155 patients (median 17.2 years) were admitted with a diagnosis of acute scrotum (unilateral in 150 cases, bilateral in 5). Along with a careful anamnesis and the physical exam, all patients underwent a CDS study of the scrotal content using a sonograph GE Logiq 500 with a multifrequency (7.5-10 MHz) linear probe Small Part. The following CDS parameters were evaluated: intensity of the color-power signal on the testicular parenchyma and on the epididymis; systolic peak velocity (SPV) and telediastolic velocity (TDV) in correspondence of the gonadal hilum. Ultrasound and flowmetry parameters registered on the painful testis were compared with those registered on the healthy controlateral testis. The reduction/absence versus the increase of color-power signal in the parenchyma and the reduction/absence versus the increase of SPV and TDV in the centripetal intratesticular arteries were considered presumptive of testicular torsion versus orchiepididymitis.
The results only refer to the 150 patients (300 testis) with acute monolateral scrotum. The clinical picture and the physical exam suggested a torsion of the spermatic cord in 40 cases, a spontaneous de-torsion in 5, an orchiepididymitis in 80, a blunt scrotal trauma in 15, a bulky epididymal cyst or a hydrocele in 4 and a testicular pain of unknown etiology in the remaining 6 cases. Standard US was pathological in 95 patients (63.3%); CDS was pathologic in 70 patients and in 42 of them suggested a testicular torsion. Fifty-three patients underwent surgical exploration: among 42 patients with a presumptive diagnosis of testicular torsion, the diagnosis was confirmed in 22 cases, no anomaly was found in 16 cases and in 4 patients a torsion of testicular appendix was found. The rupture of the tunica albuginea was present in six out of seven patients submitted to surgical exploration for previous blunt trauma and the sonographic diagnosis of hematocele was documented in all cases. The single false-negative diagnosis of testicular torsion in CDS occurred in an 18-month-old child. In presence of funicular torsion, the sensitivity and specificity of physical exam and CDS were 100% versus 95.7% and 86.5% versus 85.3%, respectively; sensitivity and specificity of SPV, TDV and color-Doppler signal on the testis were 100% and 94.8% versus 100% and 90.1% versus 95.7% and 90.8%. In the pre-operative assessment of scrotal trauma, the B-mode US showed a sensitivity and specificity of 100% and 90%, respectively; the color Doppler analysis has not supplied with additional elements for planning a surgical exploration. In presence of orchiepididymitis, the sensitivity and specificity of the physical exam in association to CDS was equal to 100%. In all patients with torsion of the testicular appendix, physical exam and CDS parameters were within normal limits.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS
In our experience CDS is an indispensable imaging modality for the clinical assessment of patients with acute scrotum; however, the informations it can afford are operator-dependent and have to be supported by the history and physical exam of the patient. CDS findings constitute probably an important medico-legal support when the necessity of surgical exploration is excluded; anyway, in presence of a clinical suspicion of testicular torsion, even with an apparently normal CDS, the surgical exploration is recommended.