Testicular torsion occurs when a testicle rotates, twisting the spermatic cord that brings blood to the scrotum. The reduced blood flow causes sudden and often severe pain and swelling. Testicular torsion is most common between ages 12 and 16, but it can occur at any age, even before birth.
Testicular torsion usually requires emergency surgery. If treated within a few hours, the testicle can usually be saved. But waiting longer can cause permanent damage and may affect the ability to father children. When blood flow has been cut off for too long, a testicle may become so badly damaged it has to be removed.
With testicular torsion, the testicle twists on the spermatic cord. This cuts off blood flow to the testicle and causes sudden, severe pain.