How To Prepare
No special preparation is needed before a testicular examination by your doctor. But for comfort, you should empty your bladder ahead of time. You will be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown.
Testicular self-examination (TSE) is painless and takes only a minute. It is best performed after a bath or shower, when the scrotal muscles are warm and relaxed.
How It Is Done
The examination may be done initially while you are lying down, then repeated while standing. Your doctor will inspect your abdomen, groin, and genital area (penis, scrotum, testicles). The scrotum and both testicles will be felt (palpated) for their size, weight, texture, and consistency and for physical signs of swelling, lumps, or masses. The absence of one testicle usually indicates an undescended testicle. Shrinking (atrophy) of one or both testicles will also be noted.
If a mass is found in a testicle, your doctor will place a strong light behind the testicle to see whether light can pass through it (called transillumination). A testicular tumor is too solid for light to pass through it. Also, a testicle with a tumor generally appears heavier than a normal testicle. A palpable mass or swelling caused by a hydrocele will allow light to pass through it. A hydrocele feels like water in a thin plastic bag. The other testicle also will be felt and examined to make sure it does not contain any lumps, masses, or other abnormalities.
Your doctor will also feel the lymph nodes in your groin and along your inner thigh for signs of enlargement.
Testicular self-examination (TSE)
TSE is best performed after a bath or shower, when the scrotal muscles are warm and relaxed. If you do the exam at another time, remove your underwear so that your genitals are exposed.
Stand and place your right leg on an elevated surface about chair height. Then gently feel your scrotal sac until you locate the right testicle. Roll the testicle gently but firmly between your thumb and fingers of both hands, carefully exploring the surface for lumps. The skin over the testicle moves freely, making it easy to feel the entire surface of the testicle. Repeat the procedure for the other side, lifting your left leg and examining your left testicle. Feel the entire surface of both testicles.