Asymmetric spermatic cord vessel enhancement on CT: a sign of epididymitis or testicular neoplasm

Suraj A. Gupta*, Jeanne M. Horowitz, Sheetal M. Bhalani, Hamid Chalian, Nancy A. Hammond, Senta Berggruen, Paul Nikolaidis, David D. Casalino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Methods: Sixty-one male patients with scrotal symptoms who underwent both scrotal ultrasound (US) and CECT within 24 h were identified through a radiology information system. Twenty-eight emergency department patients who underwent CECT only for unrelated symptoms were included for comparison. Two blinded radiologists independently reviewed each CECT scan for qualitative ASE. These data were compared with US diagnoses, when present. A third blinded radiologist reviewed each CECT scan for quantitative ASE by measuring Hounsfield unit (HU) density ratios. McNemar, Kappa, Student’s t test, and ANOVA were used for analysis.

Purpose: To determine whether asymmetric spermatic cord vessel enhancement (ASE) on contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) indicates scrotal pathology.

Results: Eighty-nine total patients included 28 with CECT only and 61 with CECT and US, of which 41 had abnormal US: 15 acute epididymitis and/or orchitis, 7 testicular neoplasms, 11 varicoceles, and 8 with other pathologies. Twenty patients with normal US and 28 patients with CECT only served as control groups. Identification of ASE agreed with US diagnosis of epididymitis (and/or orchitis) or testicular neoplasm (reader 1: κ = 0.79, reader 2: κ = 0.75) with average 95.5% sensitivity and 88.8% specificity, and no significant difference between readers (p = 0.58). For epididymitis (and/or orchitis) or testicular neoplasm patients, the average ratio of spermatic cord HU density (ipsilateral:contralateral) was significantly different from other patients (4.01 vs. 1.26, p = 0.0025).

Conclusion: ASE on CECT shows stronger correlation with epididymitis (and/or orchitis) and testicular neoplasm compared with other scrotal pathologies. If discovered on CECT, this should prompt further clinical and/or imaging workup.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1020
Number of pages7
JournalAbdominal Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2014


  • Computed tomography
  • Epididymitis
  • Epididymoorchitis
  • Spermatic cord
  • Spermatic vessel
  • Testicular cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology
  • Urology


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