American family physician
Scrotal and testicular masses can be broadly categorized into painful conditions, which include testicular torsion, torsion of the testicular appendage, and epididymitis, and painless conditions, which include hydrocele, varicocele, and testicular cancer. Testicular torsion is a urologic emergency requiring prompt surgical intervention to save the testicle, ideally within six hours of presentation when the salvage rate is about 90%. The Testicular Workup for Ischemia and Suspected Torsion score can be used to help physicians identify patients at high risk of torsion and those at lower risk who would benefit from imaging first. Torsion of the testicular appendage presents with gradual onset of superior unilateral pain, is diagnosed using ultrasonography, and is treated supportively with analgesics. Epididymitis is usually caused by infection with Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, or enteric bacteria and is treated with antibiotics, analgesics, and scrotal support. Hydroceles are generally asymptomatic and are managed supportively. Varicoceles are also generally asymptomatic but may be associated with reduced fertility. It is uncertain if surgical or radiologic treatment of varicoceles in subfertile men improves the rate of live births. Testicular cancer often presents as a unilateral, painless mass discovered incidentally. Ultrasonography is used to evaluate any suspicious masses, and surgical treatment is recommended for suspected cancerous masses.
Langan, Robert C. and Puente, Manuel E., "Scrotal Masses" (2022). Center for Primary Care & Community Health Research @SLUHN Articles & Publications. 75.