Torsion of the testicular appendix: importance of associated acute inflammation

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Torsion of the testicular appendix is the commonest cause of acute scrotum in children. The histological picture of these cases is variable and many show a heavy acute inflammatory cell infiltrate, unlike the response to pure ischaemic necrosis in other organs. The clinical implications and consequences of this associated inflammation are not clear.


A retrospective review of all cases presenting with torsion of the testicular appendix between 1987 and 2005 was carried out. In all, 79 cases were reviewed and the degree of acute inflammatory cell infiltrate and other morphological parameters were assessed and compared with the patients’ clinical, operative and postoperative findings. Stains for bacteria and fungi were examined.


A positive correlation was found between the severity of acute inflammatory cell infiltrates and the longer duration of symptoms and presence of clinical evidence of torsion of the testicular appendages. No other association was detected between the pattern or degree of acute inflammatory cell infiltrate and any other clinicopathological variable that may indicate pyogenic infection. No bacteria or fungal elements were identified. Marked lymphatic dilation may be the only histological finding to indicate the presence of early torsion in cases of scrotal pain secondary to torsion of the appendix testis.


Heavy acute inflammatory cell infiltrates in the torted testicular appendix can be regarded as marker of progression of this condition. Investigation for infection is therefore not necessary in such cases.

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