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Testicular Scan

How It Feels

You may feel nothing at all from the needle puncture when the tracer is injected, or you may feel a brief sting or pinch as the needle goes through the skin. Otherwise, a testicular scan is usually painless. You may find it uncomfortable to remain still during the scan, especially if your testicles are sore. Ask for a pillow or blanket to make yourself as comfortable as possible before the scan begins.

Risks

Allergic reactions to the radioactive tracer are rare. Most of the tracer will be eliminated from your body (through your urine or stool) within a day, so be sure to promptly flush the toilet and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. The amount of radiation is so small that it is not a risk for people to come in contact with you following the test.

Occasionally, some soreness or swelling may develop at the injection site. These symptoms can usually be relieved by putting a warm, moist cloth on your arm.

There is always a very slight risk of damage to cells or tissue from being exposed to any radiation, including the low level of radiation released by the radioactive tracer used for this test.

Results

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). The results of a testicular scan are usually available within 2 days. In an emergency, results can be available within 1 hour.

Testicular scan
Normal:

The radioactive tracer flows evenly through the testicles. No accumulations of the tracer are found in any area of the testicles.

Abnormal:

The tracer does not flow evenly through the testicles, indicating narrowing of, blockage of, or damage to the blood vessels in the testicles. This could indicate that blood flow has been reduced by a twisted spermatic cord inside the testicle. This is called testicular torsion.

Areas where the tracer accumulates in an abnormal amount could indicate a condition such as a cyst, tumor, pocket of infection (abscess), blood clot, or inflammation of the tubes (ducts) that carry sperm (epididymis). This inflammation is called epididymitis.

What Affects the Test

The results of a testicular scan may not be accurate if you cannot remain still during the test.

What To Think About

  • Testicular ultrasound has largely replaced testicular scans to investigate possible testicular torsion or tumors in the testicles. To learn more, see the topic Testicular Ultrasound.
  • Abnormal results from a testicular scan may be further investigated by other tests, such as a testicular biopsy, an ultrasound test, or X-ray tests.
  • If a testicular scan is done for a young boy, a parent can be with him.

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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