From the Archives of the AFIP: Extratesticular Scrotal Masses: Radiologic-Pathologic Correlation

Paula J. Woodward, MD ; Cornelia M. Schwab, MD ; Isabell A. Sesterhenn, MD

1From the Departments of Radiologic Pathology (P.J.W., C.M.S.) and Genitourinary Pathology (I.A.S.), Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, 14th and Alaska NW, Bldg 54, Rm M-121, Washington, DC 20306-6000. Received July 30, 2002; revision requested August 21 and received September 27; accepted September 27.

The extratesticular scrotal contents consist of the epididymis, spermatic cord, and fascia derived from the embryologic descent of the testis through the abdominal wall. As opposed to intratesticular masses, most extratesticular masses are benign. Cystic masses (including hydroceles, epididymal cysts, and varicoceles) are easily diagnosed with ultrasonography (US) and are benign. Epididymitis is a common extratesticular lesion as well as the most frequent cause of an acute scrotum. It may be either acute or chronic and can be potentially complicated by epididymo-orchitis or scrotal abscess. Findings include epididymal enlargement, skin thickening, hydroceles, and hyperemia. The epididymis can also be affected by sarcoidosis, a noninfectious granulomatous disorder. The most common extratesticular neoplasms are lipomas (most often arising from the spermatic cord) and adenomatoid tumors (most often found in the epididymis). Despite their relative rarity, malignant neoplasms do occur and include rhabdomyosarcoma, liposarcoma, leiomyosarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, mesothelioma, and lymphoma. These tumors are often large at the time of presentation. The US findings of solid masses are often nonspecific. Magnetic resonance imaging can be very helpful in the evaluation of some of these disorders, allowing for a more specific diagnosis in cases of lipoma, fibrous pseudotumor, and polyorchidism.