One of the things I love about my job is that I am continually learning new and interesting things. For example, did you know that a traumatic injury to the testicle can lead to the testicle disappearing? Indeed. I recently had a patient who had only one testicle on exam. He explained that he had a traumatic blow to the ‘nads as a kid, but was too embarrassed to tell anyone. When the swelling went down, one of his testicles was gone, never to reappear again. After an ultrasound confirmed that the testicle was indeed gone, not just undescended, I put in a call to Urology. The urologist confirmed that it is possible to kill off your testicle, and then it will necrose and shrivel until there is only the teeniest trace of the tissue left in the seemingly empty sack. Well, I’ll be damned.
The second thing I learned this week is that it is possible to pop (ok, the medical term is ‘rupture’) your bladder in a traumatic accident. Apparently the chances are greatest if your bladder is very full and then you take a hit to the abdomen, for example in a car accident. I had a patient who had just such a situation. After open abdominal surgery, her bladder was repaired and she had to have an indwelling catheter for more than a month. Yikes. Apparently I missed the memo about traumatic bladder rupture, because when I told my co-workers about this case, two of them said “Oh yeah, that’s why mom always said to empty your bladder before you get in the car.” Huh. My mom never said that. I could have ruptured my bladder!
But now I know: don’t get in a car accident with a full bladder. And if someone smashes you in the ‘nads, tell someone, or else you might not see that testicle again. Good to know.