A testicular ultrasound is a safe and painless procedure that uses sound waves to make images of the scrotum (the pouch of skin at the base of the penis that contains the testicles).
During the examination, an ultrasound machine sends sound waves into the scrotum and images are recorded on a computer. The black-and-white images show the internal structures of the scrotum, such as the testicles, the epididymis (the tube that collects sperm made by a testicle), and the spermatic cord (the tube that connects a testicle to the inside of the body).
Why It’s Done
Doctors order a scrotal ultrasound when they’re concerned about symptoms such as scrotal pain or swelling.
A scrotal ultrasound can show:
- the size of the testicles
- signs of injury to the testicles
- abnormally swollen veins in the scrotum (varicocele)
- fluid collection around the testicle (hydrocele)
- twisting of the testicle, which cuts off its blood supply (testicular torsion)
- infection or inflammation in the epididymis (epidydimitis) or in the testicle (orchitis)
- a cyst or tumor in the scrotum
- an absent or undescended testicle