Ultrasound of Small Parts
an abnormality present at birth
malignancy in men between the ages of 15-35
  Clear scrotal ultrasound images are difficult to obtain if a patient is unable to remain still.
 
 
     
 
 
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
    Ultrasound of Small Parts - Scrotum  
  A scrotal sac with an absent testicle may be the result of a congenital anomaly (an abnormality present at birth), where a testicle fails to develop. More often, it is due to an un-descended testicle. In the fetus, the testicles normally develop just outside the abdomen and descend into the scrotum during the seventh month. Approximately 3% of full-term baby boys have un-descended testicles. It is important to distinguish between an un-descended testicle and an absent testicle, as an un-descended testicle has a very high probability of developing cancer.

Ultrasound can be used to locate and evaluate masses in the scrotum. Most masses within the testicle are malignant or cancerous, and most outside the testicle are benign. Primary cancer of the testicles is the most common malignancy in men between the ages of 15-35. Fluid collections and abnormalities of the blood vessels in the scrotum may appear to the physician as masses and need evaluation by ultrasound. A hydrocele, the most common cause of painless scrotal swelling, is a collection of fluid between two layers of tissue surrounding the testicle. An abnormal enlargement of the veins which drain the testicles is called a varicocele. It can cause discomfort and swelling, which can be examined by touch (palpated). Varicocele is a common cause of male infertility.

Precautions

Clear scrotal ultrasound images are difficult to obtain if a patient is unable to remain still.

Description

The patient lies on his back on an examining table. The technologist will usually take a history of the problem, then gently palpate the scrotum. A rolled towel is placed between the patient's legs to support the scrotum. The penis is lifted up onto the abdomen and covered. A gel that enhances sound transmission is put directly on the scrotum. The technologist then gently places a transducer (an electronic imaging device) against the skin. It is moved over the area creating images from reflected sound waves, which appear on a monitor screen. There is no discomfort from the study itself. However, if the scrotum is very tender, even the slight pressure involved may be painful.

Abnormal results

An abnormal result of an ultrasound of the scrotum may reveal an absent or undescended testicle, an inflammation problem, testicular torsion, a fluid collection, abnormal blood vessels, or a mass.

 
   
     
   
 
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