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Testicular Torsion

Testicular torsion a sudden painful type of swelling that occurs when a testicle becomes twisted, interrupting the blood supply to the testicles.  It is usually diagnosed by the distinctive symptoms of the development of severe one sided testicular pain and swelling.

Whilst the diagnosis can be confirmed with an ultrasound or MRI scan, testicular torsion requires such urgent action that such tests are often not carried out.

Medical consensus appears to be that testicular exploration needs to be carried out within six hours of the onset of symptoms for the testicle to be saved.  Some testicles can survive longer although sperm production is likely to be affected (>10hours).

Where a patient does not receive competent treatment for testicular torsion they are likely to require a surgical procedure to remove the affected testicle.  This procedure is called an orchidectomy.

Tests are required to establish the prognosis for a patient who has undergone an orchidectomy following testicular torsion.  Without further investigations, it is not possible to assess whether fertility has been adversely affected.

It is possible that a patient's fertility and hormone levels may be affected.  Anti-sperm antibodies can be caused to develop by a neglected torsion and may affect the fertility functions of the remaining testicle.

Aside from damage to fertility, there may also be issues with depression and anxiety for a patient who has suffered injury as a result of substandard treatment for testicular torsion.

Testicular torsion usually develops in boys aged 13-17, but it can also occur in men of different ages. Figures from the United States suggest that it affects 1 in every 4,000 males every year.

You may be able to claim damages if you have sought help from hospital or a GP and have not been provided with competent treatment within the requisite time frame. This may be because of delay, misdiagnosis or some other reason.

It is important that you seek legal advice without delay if you suspect that you have had to undergo an orchidectomy as a result of substandard medical treatment.  There are strict time limits for pursuing claims, such that if you do not take certain steps within a specified time, then you may be unable to claim at all. 

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