Unusual Scrotal Pathology: An Overview

Nat Rev Urol. 2009 Sep;6(9):491-500. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2009.149. Epub 2009 Aug 11.


The diverse embryological origins of the contents of the scrotum create an environment that fosters a wide variety of unusual pathologies. Most scrotal pathologies are discovered by the patient and are initially evaluated by a thorough physical examination and scrotal ultrasonography. Scrotal lesions can be broadly grouped by the anatomical location in which they develop; the clinician must consider a wide differential diagnosis based on this location. Solid testicular masses are considered germ cell tumors until proven otherwise, but numerous other possible pathologies exist, including ectopic tissue, metastasis, and other neoplastic growths. Rete testis lesions are classified as developmental, benign or malignant. Cystic lesions of the epididymis are most commonly benign, but malignant neoplasms can also be present. The paratesticular region has the broadest differential diagnosis, as it contains numerous distinct structures and is a common location for ectopic tissue and metastatic disease; a narrower range of lesions develop in the scrotal wall because of its simpler anatomy. Treatment options range from conservative observation to wide surgical excision and should be considered carefully; the aim of therapy is to remove malignant or potentially malignant tissue while minimizing effects on fertility and function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rete Testis / pathology
  • Scrotum / abnormalities
  • Scrotum / pathology*
  • Testicular Diseases / classification
  • Testicular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Testicular Diseases / pathology
  • Testicular Neoplasms / classification
  • Testicular Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Testicular Neoplasms / pathology