ultrasound (sonogram) is a test that uses reflected
sound waves to produce a picture of the
scrotum. An ultrasound can show the long, tightly
coiled tube that lies behind each testicle and collects sperm (epididymis) and
the tube (vas deferens) that connects the testicles to the
prostate gland. The ultrasound does not use
X-rays or other types of radiation. See a picture of
the male reproductive system .
A small handheld instrument called a
transducer is passed back and forth over the scrotum. The transducer sends the
sound waves to the computer which converts them into a picture that is
displayed on a video monitor. The picture produced by ultrasound is called a
sonogram, echogram, or scan. Pictures or videos of the ultrasound images may be
saved as a permanent record.
Why It Is Done
Testicular ultrasound is done to:
- Evaluate a mass or pain in the testicles.
- Identify and monitor infection or inflammation of the testicles or
- Identify twisting of the
spermatic cord cutting off blood supply to the
testicles (testicular torsion).
- Monitor for
recurrence of testicular cancer.
- Locate an
- Identify fluid in
the scrotum (hydrocele), fluid in the epididymis (spermatocele),
blood in the scrotum (hematocele), or pus in the scrotum
- Guide a
biopsy needle for testicular biopsy when testing for
- Evaluate an injury to the
How To Prepare
No special preparation is needed for a
If you are having a biopsy or another test
during the ultrasound, you may need to sign a consent form.
to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its
risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you
understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A testicular ultrasound is usually done
by an ultrasound technologist. It is done in an ultrasound room in a doctor's
office or hospital.
You will need to remove all your clothes from
the waist down and put on a gown before the test. You will be asked to lie on
your back on a padded examination table. Folded towels will be used to cover
the penis and lift the scrotum. A gel (such as K-Y Jelly) will be spread on
your scrotum for the transducer. The transducer is pressed against your skin
and moved across your scrotum many times.
You will need to lie
very still during the ultrasound scan. You may be asked to take a breath and
hold it for several seconds during the scanning. Testicular ultrasound takes
about 20 minutes.
When the test is finished, the gel is removed
from your skin. You may be asked to wait until the
radiologist has reviewed the information. The
radiologist may want to do more ultrasound views.