What is bell clapper deformity, and how is it related to testicular torsion?

Updated: Aug 31, 2018
  • Author: Oreoluwa I Ogunyemi, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

In males who have an inappropriately high attachment of the tunica vaginalis, as well as abnormal fixation to the muscle and fascial coverings of the spermatic cord, the testicle can rotate freely on the spermatic cord within the tunica vaginalis (intravaginal testicular torsion). This congenital anomaly, called the bell clapper deformity, can result in the long axis of the testicle being oriented transversely rather than cephalocaudal.

This congenital abnormality is present in approximately 12% of males and is bilateral in 40% of cases. [7] The bell clapper deformity allows the testicle to twist spontaneously on the spermatic cord.

Torsion occurs as the testicle rotates between 90° and 180°, compromising blood flow to and from the testicle. Complete torsion usually occurs when the testicle twists 360° or more; incomplete or partial torsion occurs with lesser degrees of rotation. The degree of torsion may extend to 720°.


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