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25 July 2008
Testicular Trauma: No Laughing Matter
by George Atkinson

Testicular trauma can lead to serious complications and parents should get their sons fitted with protective gear as soon as they begin playing sports - no matter what their age, says Anthony Atala, a pediatric urologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

"It is extremely important for parents to understand how serious these injuries can be and how they can help their child if they suffer testicular trauma. We don't often discuss this, but we should - so that parents can help prevent injury and understand when to seek medical treatment if it does occur," said Atala.

Testicular injury can be very serious and result in testicular loss if not treated in time, notes Atala. "A testicle can be bruised from a blunt trauma to the area; there could be internal bleeding in the scrotum, testicular fracture, or even testicular rupture. Slapstick comedy may make groin injuries seem amusing, but they are no laughing matter. There are plenty of children out there who have lost a testicle because too much time elapsed between when their injury occurred and when they were treated," he explained.

Parents should also be particularly alert if their son complains of sudden and severe testicular pain and swelling on one side, warned Atala, as this may indicate testicular torsion a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Testicular torsion occurs when the spermatic cord (a cord by which a testis is suspended in the scrotum) gets twisted, resulting in a decrease in blood supply to the testicle and surrounding structures.

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Source: American Urological Association Foundation

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