What is torsion of the appendix testis?

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Torsion of the appendix testis in children: Overview

The appendix testis is a small piece of tissue attached to the testicle. It is left over from before birth. It's a normal part of the system that creates female organs. Since it isn't needed in boys, it may disappear. But in many boys it remains attached.

It serves no purpose, but it can become twisted (torsion). The twisting can cut off its blood supply, causing pain that ranges from mild to severe.

The pain usually gets better after a week or two. There is usually no treatment except to make your child as comfortable as possible.

How can you care for your child's torsion of the appendix testis?

  • Have your child stop, change, or take a break from any activity that causes pain or soreness. Your child may not feel like being active for a few days.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • Have your child wear snug underwear or compression shorts. These help support the area. Your child can use an athletic supporter if it helps relieve the pain.
  • Ask your doctor if you can give your child acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

Torsion of the appendix testis in children: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has severe or increasing pain.
  • You notice a change in how your child's testicles look or are positioned in his scrotum.
  • You notice new or worse swelling in your child's scrotum.
  • Your child has symptoms of a urinary problem, such as a urinary tract infection. These may include:
    • Pain or burning when he urinates.
    • A frequent need to urinate without being able to pass much urine.
    • Pain in the flank, which is just below the rib cage and above the waist on either side of the back.
    • Blood in his urine.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

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