What is Scrotal Ultrasound?
Ultrasound of the scrotum or scrotal ultrasound is an imaging test. The scrotum is a skin-covered muscular sac that holds the testicles of a man.
Purpose of the Scrotal Ultrasound
The scrotal ultrasound is typically used to:
- Diagnose the common cause of scrotal pain that is the epididymitis
- Check for absent or undescended testicles
- Check for twisting of the spermatic cord or testicular torsion that is caused by some abnormalities during fetal development
- Determine the location and condition of the mass or lump found in the scrotum
- Evaluate the reason for infertility such as varicocele
- Measure the testicular size
- Check the testicles of men with a history of testicular cancers or infections
- Use as a guide during needle biopsy for certain testicular masses.
How is the Scrotal Ultrasound Performed?
Before performing the scrotal ultrasound, the patient will be asked to change and wear the hospital robe. No other preparation from the part of the patient will be required. The patient will be also asked to lie down on his back while spreading the legs apart. The doctor will examine the scrotum manually and lift the penis towards the abdomen and cover it with a cloth. The scrotum will be raised by the examiner using a rolled up towel.
A water-soluble gel is smeared on the scrotum to allow the proper transmission of sound waves. The technologist then moves a handheld probe or transducer back and forth on the scrotum to get views from various angles. The wave transmitted by the machine reflects off the areas in the scrotum and creates an image. The radiologist will try to get the clearest image, which is later recorded on a film or tapped as a video.
Each side of the scrotum is tested. This test may take 20 to 30 minutes. After the completion of the test, the examiner wipes off the gel from the scrotal skin.
What to Expect from the Result?
After the images are formed, the physician will review them closely. If the testicles and other areas of the scrotum appear normal in size and shape, then it is considered as a normal result. An abnormal result could also be due to varicocele, inflammation, benign cyst or mass, testicular torsion or tumor.