A testicular scan uses a special camera to take pictures of the testicles after a radioactive tracer builds up in testicular tissues (nuclear medicine test). The results of the scan are usually available within 2 days. In an emergency, results can be ready within 1 hour.
The radioactive tracer flows evenly through the testicles. The tracer does not build up in any area of the testicles.
The tracer does not flow evenly through the testicles. This may be a sign of narrowing, blockage, or damage in the blood vessels in the testicles. This could mean that blood flow has been reduced by a twisted cord inside the testicle. This is called testicular torsion.
Areas where the tracer builds up in an abnormal amount could be a sign of a condition such as a cyst, a tumor, a pocket of infection (abscess), a blood clot, or swelling of the tubes (ducts) that carry sperm (epididymis). This swelling is called epididymitis.
What Affects the Test
The results of the scan may not be accurate if you can't stay still during the test.
What To Think About
Testicular ultrasound has largely replaced testicular scans to look for testicular torsion or tumors in the testicles. To learn more, see the topic Testicular Ultrasound.
Abnormal results from a testicular scan may be checked further by other tests. These include a testicular biopsy, an ultrasound test, and X-ray tests.
If the scan is done for a young boy, a parent can be with him.
Other Works Consulted
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerChristopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology