What happens if testicular torsion is left untreated?

Updated on June 4, 2019

Testicular torsion is a serious condition caused by the spermatic cord holding the testicle becoming twisted, cutting off the blood supply to the testicle. Testicular torsion requires emergency treatment, usually within a maximum of about six hours, to prevent the testicle from dying due to lack of blood. 

Any delay in treatment for testicular torsion can therefore result in the affected testicle having to be surgically removed. This is not only painful, but may also have a serious long-term impact on a man’s fertility and emotional wellbeing.

What causes delays in treatment for testicular torsion?

Testicular torsion is most common in children and teenagers, with symptoms including sudden, severe pain in the scrotum, one testicle being higher than normal, a swollen scrotum, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. 

The condition can be relatively straightforward to diagnose if a proper examination is made by a competent medical professional, meaning delayed treatment is usually caused by factors such as:

  • Patients failing to seek medical advice promptly
  • Doctors or nurses failing to recognise the symptoms and carry out an examination of the scrotum and testicles
  • Failure to carry out a full examination of the scrotum and testicles
  • Delays in referring a patient with testicular torsion for proper treatment

What can you do if you have lost a testicle due to delayed treatment of testicular torsion?

Losing a testicle can have a big impact on a man’s psychological wellbeing, as well as potentially affecting their ability to have children. There are a number of actions you can take with may be worth considering.

Many men choose to undergo cosmetic surgery to have an artificial prosthetic testicle inserted into their scrotum. Usually made of silicone, this prosthetic testicle will be non-functional, but can help with issues surrounding body image and confidence for men who have lost a testicle.

Counselling can also be highly beneficial to deal with the emotional and psychological effects of losing a testicle, which many men understandably find highly distressing.

It may also be worth considering getting in touch with a fertility clinic to have samples of your sperm taken and stored as a safeguard against the risk of any issues with fertility in the future e.g. if anything were to happen to your remaining testicle.

How to claim compensation for negligent treatment of testicular torsion

If you wish to claim compensation for loss of a testicle due to testicular torsion, you may be able to do so if you can show that the loss was due to incorrect diagnosis or a delay in treatment as a result of medical negligence. 

These types of claims can be complex, however, so it is recommended to work with a law firm specialising in testicular torsion claims to ensure you get the expert advice and support needed to give you the best chance of securing a fair outcome.

Your solicitors will need to gather evidence to show that the delay in treatment was due to medical negligence and to place a value on the impact this has had on your life, both financially and otherwise. They will negotiate with those responsible to try to reach an out-of-court settlement and represent you in court proceedings if required.

Whiles securing compensation can take a year or so, it can make a very real difference to your quality of life moving forward, including funding the cost of a cosmetic testicle implant and counselling to deal with the emotional impact of your loss.

Throughout the year, our writers feature fresh, in-depth, and relevant information for our audience of 40,000+ healthcare leaders and professionals. As a healthcare business publication, we cover and cherish our relationship with the entire health care industry including administrators, nurses, physicians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. We cover a broad spectrum from hospitals to medical offices to outpatient services to eye surgery centers to university settings. We focus on rehabilitation, nursing homes, home care, hospice as well as men’s health, women’s heath, and pediatrics.