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Radiographics. 2013 May;33(3):721-40. doi: 10.1148/rg.333125158.

Imaging of penile and scrotal emergencies.

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Division of Emergency Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Penile and scrotal emergencies are uncommon, but when they do occur, urgent or emergent diagnosis and treatment are necessary. Emergent conditions of the male genitalia are primarily infectious, traumatic, or vascular. Infectious conditions, such as epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis, are well evaluated at ultrasonography (US), and their key findings include heterogeneity and hyperemia. Pyocele and abscess may also be seen at US. Fournier gangrene is best evaluated at computed tomography, which depicts subcutaneous gas. Vascular conditions, such as testicular torsion, infarction, penile Mondor disease, and priapism, are well evaluated at duplex Doppler US. The key imaging finding of testicular torsion and infarction is a lack of blood flow in the testicle or a portion of the testicle. Penile Mondor disease is characterized by a lack of flow to and noncompressibility of the superficial dorsal vein of the penis. Clinical examination and history are usually adequate for diagnosis of priapism, but Doppler US may help confirm the diagnosis. Traumatic injuries of the penis and scrotum are initially imaged with US, which depicts whether the penile corpora and testicular seminiferous tubules are contained by the tunicae albuginea; herniation of contents and discontinuity of the tunica albuginea indicate rupture. In some cases, magnetic resonance imaging may be performed because of its ability to directly depict discontinuity of the tunica albuginea. Radiologists must closely collaborate with emergency physicians, surgeons, and urologists to quickly and efficiently diagnose or rule out emergent conditions of the male genitalia to facilitate prompt and appropriate treatment.

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