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Testicular Scan

A testicular scan uses a camera to take pictures of the testicles camera.gif after a radioactive tracer accumulates in testicular tissues (nuclear medicine test).

During a testicular scan, the tracer substance is injected into a vein in the arm. It travels through the bloodstream to the testicles. Areas of the testicles where the tracer accumulates in abnormal amounts may indicate some types of tumors. The tracer may also indicate a pocket of fluid (cyst) or infection (abscess).

A testicular scan may be done in an emergency to evaluate the cause of sudden, painful swelling of a testicle, which can be caused by a twisted spermatic cord inside the testicle. This condition is called testicular torsion and needs immediate medical evaluation and treatment.

Testicular ultrasound has largely replaced testicular scans to investigate possible testicular tumors and testicular torsion.

Why It Is Done

A testicular scan is done to:

  • Determine the cause of a painful, swollen testicle.
  • Assess the damage to the testicles caused by an injury.
  • Assess the flow of blood within the testicles.

How To Prepare

No special preparation is needed for a testicular scan.

You may be asked to sign a consent form before the test.

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

How It Is Done

A testicular scan is usually done by a nuclear medicine technologist. The scan pictures are usually interpreted by a radiologist or nuclear medicine specialist.

You will need to remove any jewelry that might interfere with the scan. You may need to take off all or most of your clothes, but you will be given a cloth or paper covering to use during the test.

The technologist cleans the site on your arm where the radioactive tracer will be injected. A small amount of the radioactive tracer is then injected.

You will lie on your back on a table and your penis will be taped to your abdomen to prevent it from interfering with the scan. A sling or towel may be used to support the testicles under the scanner. After the radioactive tracer is injected, the camera will scan for radiation released by the tracer and produce pictures of the tracer in your testicles. Two scans are done about 15 minutes apart. You need to lie very still during each scan to avoid blurring the pictures. The camera does not produce any radiation, so you are not exposed to any more radiation while the scan is being done.

A testicular scan takes about 45 minutes.

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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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