Intermittent testicular torsion: Diagnostic features and management outcomes

Samuel H. Eaton, Marc A. Cendron, Carlos R. Estrada, Stuart B. Bauer, Joseph G. Borer, Bartley G. Cilento, David A. Diamond, Alan B. Retik, Craig A. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Purpose: Intermittent testicular torsion (ITT) is a poorly characterized condition but harbors potentially serious implications with regard to testicular viability. We report better characterization of the diagnostic features of ITT. Materials and Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all patients 1 to 18 years old seen from 1997 to 2003 at our institution diagnosed with ITT. Patients with acute scrotal pain and spontaneous resolution who underwent bilateral testicular fixation were included in the study. Results: A total of 50 patients meeting the inclusion criteria were identified with mean age at presentation of 12.2 years (range 4 to 17). The mean number of painful episodes before surgery was 4.3 (range 1 to 30). The most common presenting features were severe pain of rapid onset and resolution. Nausea and/or vomiting was reported in a quarter of the patients. Finding of a horizontal lie of the testes on examination was significantly associated (p <0.05) with the existence of the bell-clapper deformity. All patients underwent surgical fixation of the testes. There were no postoperative complications. Of 38 patients (97%) for whom followup was available 37 had complete resolution of symptoms (mean followup 7.9 months). Conclusions: ITT should be a diagnostic consideration in patients who present with recurrent acute scrotal pain with rapid spontaneous resolution. Recurrent severe pain with rapid onset and resolution seems to be highly characteristic. Horizontal lie on examination is highly correlated with the bell-clapper deformity at surgical exploration. Surgery may be recommended in these patients as it appears to result in pain relief in the majority, is likely to prevent future testicular infarction and is associated with low morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1532-1535
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number4 II
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Spermatic cord torsion
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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