What is Neonatal Testicular Torsion?

Testicular Torsion

Testicular Torsion is when a loose testicle twists around the spermatic chord. When this happens, it cuts off the blood flow to the testicle. It should be treated as a medical emergency.

This is thankfully a rare problem, especially in newborns. But, if your newborn son is diagnosed with it, we offer information that can help.

What happens under normal conditions?

The testicles (also called testes) are part of the male reproductive system. One testicle is called a testis. Normally, these organs are found within a sac of skin called the scrotum, hanging below the penis.

Late in pregnancy, the testes move down from the abdomen into the scrotum. At birth, all but 3% of male babies will have both testicles drop. As this happens, a small cord known as the gubernaculum guides the testes down.

After the testes have moved into the scrotum, they become attached. The gubernaculum connects to nearby tissue. Other tissues grow to keep the testes in place. Blood vessels and nerves pass through the spermatic cord to the scrotum. They "feed" the testicles to keep them alive and well.

What is testicular torsion?

If the testes do not properly attach to the scrotum (as a birth defect), they can move and twist. They can twist around the blood supply, and cut it off. Without its blood supply, a testicle could "die." This problem can occur during pregnancy, before delivery, or around the time of birth.