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Acta Radiol Open. 2017 Aug 3;6(8):2058460117723676. doi: 10.1177/2058460117723676. eCollection 2017 Aug.

Testicular microlithiasis is associated with ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

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Department of Radiology, Clinical Cancer Centre, Vejle Hospital - Part of Lillebaelt Hospital, Vejle, Denmark.
Institute of Regional Health Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
Urological Research Center, Department of Urology, Vejle Hospital - Part of Lillebaelt Hospital, Denmark.
Department of Radiology, King's College Hospital, London, UK.
Research Unit for General Practice, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Cancer Epidemiology and Population Health, King's College London, London, UK.



There are limited studies about testicular microlithiasis (TML) and background information such as health, lifestyle, and socioeconomic status.


To assess the prevalence of TML in relation to socioeconomic status and ethnicity.


From a database of scrotal ultrasound examinations in a single institution, all men who underwent routine ultrasound examinations for a variety of symptoms from 1998 to 2015 were included. Skilled observers performed all examinations, and presence of any form of intra-testicular calcification, including TML, was recorded on the examination report and a representative image obtained and stored. A total of 1105 cases with TML were reviewed and random sample of 1105 controls from the same database was also reviewed. Demographics were recorded including ethnicity (white, black, and others) and socioeconomic groups (IMD Quintile).


Black men had increased prevalence of TML (odds ratio [OR] = 2.17, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.72-2.75) compared with white men. Among the 1105 TML cases, 423 (38.3%) were white, 273 (24.7%) black, 152 (13.8%) had other ethnicities, and 257 (23.2%) had no ethnicity recorded. In the control group of 1105 men without TML, 560 (50.7%) were white, 171 (15.5%) black, 111 (10.0%) had other specified ethnicities, and 263 (23.8%) had no ethnicity recorded. Men from the most deprived socioeconomic groups had higher prevalence of TML than men in the most affluent groups, with a trend in OR from the least deprived to the most deprived group.


Pathogenesis and clinical relevance of TML is unknown but our results point towards possible ethnic and socioeconomic variation in the underlying causes of TML.


Ultrasonography; ethnicity; macrocalcification; risk factors; socioeconomic status; testicular microlithiasis

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