This leaflet provides information for patients having an ultrasound scan of the testes. Family and carers may also find the information useful.
What is an ultrasound scan?
An ultrasound scan uses high frequency sound waves (above the audible range) to acquire images of structures within the body.
To perform the ultrasound scan we put ultrasound gel over the area to be scanned and a small plastic probe (transducer) is slowly moved over the area of interest. This probe transmits high frequency sound waves into your body. Based on the reflections of these sound waves, the ultrasound machine then creates images of your organs. Ultrasound imaging is considered to be very safe as it does not use any radiation to acquire the image.
The scan may identify the cause of your symptoms or help to rule out conditions that could cause your symptoms.
Ultrasound scans are performed by sonographers and radiologists (practitioners). Both female and male practitioners undertake these scans and act as chaperones. Please let us know before your appointment if you wish to be scanned by male staff as we may need to rebook your appointment to facilitate this.
Before your ultrasound scan
No preparation is required for this scan, other than a wash of the area.
During your ultrasound scan
It is hospital policy to have a chaperone present for these examinations. This is for your own and the practitioner’s safety.
The light will be dimmed in the room so the practitioner can see the screen better. You will be asked to lie down on the couch and will be given a cover. You will be asked to lower your clothes to expose the testes and you will be asked to move your penis out of the way. Gel, which may feel cold, is then applied to your testes. The transducer is moved on the surface of your testes. Both testes will be scanned for comparison purposes. This usually takes around two to ten minutes. During this time, the practitioner will take routine pictures and measurements.
You may be asked some questions relating to your symptoms, and previous medical history. At the end of the scan, you will be given paper towels to wipe the jelly off before you dress.
After your scan
After your scan, you can return to your normal daily activities.
The practitioner may be able to provide information about the findings; however, results will be sent back to the clinician who referred you for the scan in approximately seven to ten days.
Ultrasound scans do not use radiation and are considered to be a safe non-invasive procedure which can provide clinicians with information to aid diagnosis of a wide range of conditions.
‘’Ultrasound is now accepted as being of considerable diagnostic value. There is no evidence that diagnostic ultrasound has produced any harm to patients in the time that it has been in regular clinical practice” (British Medical Ultrasound Society 2021).
There is a very low risk of infection from the use of ultrasound gel. This can be reduced by wiping the gel off thoroughly at the end of the scan and washing it off as soon as is practical.
Alternative types of imaging available
Ultrasound is the recommended method for investigating testicular pathologies.
Contacts/ further information
Ultrasound Department: 01223 216455
References/ sources of evidence
- Guidelines for Professional Ultrasound Practice – Society of Radiographers and British Medical Ultrasound Society 6th Edition December 2021
- Ultrasound gel: good infection prevention practice – UK Health Security Agency 2022
We are smoke-free
Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.
Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998. www.cuh.nhs.uk/contact-us/accessible-information/
Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge
Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151