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Testicular Examination and Testicular Self-Examination (TSE)

(continued)

How It Is Done

Testicular examination

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)

TSEcamera.gif 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.

How It Feels

A testicular examination by your doctor may cause mild discomfort if your testicles are painful, swollen, or inflamed. Whenever the genital area is touched, there is a possibility your body will react, and you may have an erection. This is a normal response that your doctor is aware of and you do not need to feel embarrassed.

Usually there is no pain or discomfort associated with a testicular self-examination (TSE) unless a testicle is swollen or tender. A cancerous lump usually is firm to the touch and usually is not tender or painful when pressed.

Risks

There are no risks linked with a testicular examination or testicular self-examination (TSE). But false-positive results may lead to diagnostic tests or procedures that you don't need.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 28, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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