What is Scrotal Ultrasound Imaging?
Ultrasound or sonography involves sending sound waves into the body. These sound waves are reflected off the internal organs and are recorded by special instruments that create images of anatomic parts. No ionizing radiation (x-ray) is involved in ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound images are captured in real-time so they can show movement of internal tissues and organs, such as the flow of blood in arteries and veins.
Ultrasound imaging of the scrotum is the primary imaging method used to evaluate disorders of the testicles and surrounding areas. It is used when a patient is experiencing pain or swelling in the scrotum, a mass has been felt by the patient or doctor, or there has been trauma to the scrotal area.
What are some common uses of the procedure?
Ultrasound is a valuable tool for evaluating the testes, the epididymis (a tube that collects sperm made by the testicles) and the prostate. Scrotal ultrasound imaging can help determine the cause of testicular pain or swelling. Some of the problems ultrasound imaging can identify include: inflammation of the scrotum, an absent or undescended testicle, testicular torsion, abnormal blood vessels or a lump or tumour.
How should I prepare for the procedure?
What does the equipment look like?
The ultrasound image is immediately visible on a nearby screen that looks much like a computer or television monitor. The sonographer and/or radiologist watches this screen during an examination and captures representative images for storage. If a Doppler study is done, the image may be in colour and the signal can be heard as an audible sound. Often the patient is able to see and hear it as well.
How does the procedure work?
How is the procedure performed?
When the examination is complete, the patient may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed, either on film or on a monitor. Often, though, the sonographer or radiologist is able to review the ultrasound images in real time as they are acquired, and the patient can be released immediately.
What will I experience during the procedure?
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
What are the benefits vs. risks?
- Ultrasound of the scrotum is the primary imaging method used to evaluate disorders of the testicles and surrounding areas.
- Ultrasound imaging is non-invasive (no needles or injections in most cases) and usually painless.
- Ultrasound is widely available.
- Ultrasound uses no ionizing radiation.
- Ultrasound can visualize structure, movement and function in the body’s organs and blood vessels.
- Ultrasound provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for guiding minimally-invasive procedures such as needle biopsies.
- For standard diagnostic ultrasound there are no known harmful effects on humans.