Testicular microlithiasis is a rare condition characterized by clusters of microscopic calcium deposits in the testicles. Scrotal ultrasound images can reveal the condition, which is diagnosed in approximately 0.5 to 0.6% of men who undergo such examinations. The causes of this condition are unknown but might include injury or infection, and the condition is associated with Klinefelter's syndrome, cryptorchidism, infertility, Down Syndrome and alveolar microlithiasis. It is most often diagnosed in men who have complained of scrotal swelling or pain or who are being tested for infertility. There is no known treatment.
The calcifications found in this condition are usually spread symmetrically throughout both testes, but in 20% of cases, clustering is asymmetrical. Cases occurring in only one testis also have been reported. A case involving five or more calcium clusters is termed classical testicular microlithiasis, and a case with fewer than five clusters is referred to as limited testicular microlithiasis.
This condition is associated with testicular cancer, with research using testicular ultrasounds indicating that men who have this type of microlithiasis are three or four times as likely to develop cancer. Some research, such as that examining scrotal sonogram results, has suggested that the likelihood of cancer is much higher — possibly more than 20 times as likely. As a result, medical professionals should screen patients who have the condition for testicular tumors and annual sonogram screenings and frequent patient self-examination are also recommended.
First identified in 1970, testicular microlithiasis has been seen in males as young as 10 months old. There is some indication that men who develop this condition earlier have a higher risk of developing testicular cancer than those who develop the condition later in life. The mean age of men who have both testicular tumors and microlithiasis is approximately 30 years old.