An 11-year-old boy has lost one of his testicles after it twisted inside his body and turned black and purple because of tissue death.
The boy who has been identified by the nickname "Liang Liang" was brought to hospital by his parents earlier this month after he started walking awkwardly with a limp - the result of pain in his genitals.
The family lives in Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang Province.
By the time he was checked by doctor Chen Guangjie, with The Children’s Hospital of Zhejiang University School of Medicine, one of his testicles was found to have twisted some 540 degrees by its spermatic cord - the blood vessel connecting it to the rest of the body.
The organ was extremely swollen, showing black and purple colours, and had even burst open at its base slightly, because of the pressure it was subjected to when it twisted.
The condition is known as testicular torsion, and it can happen after an injury to the scrotum or following strenuous exercise - or even while the person is sleeping.
Doctor Chen told Liang Liang’s parents that there was "no value" in retaining the boy’s now dead testicle, and it was later surgically removed.
In addition, the medic found that the boy had also been suffering from bilateral cryptorchidism, which is when either one or both - in this case both - testicles do not fully drop into the scrotum after birth.
As a result, it had remained partly inside his body and may have contributed to the testicular torsion he suffered.
Doctor Chen said the ordeal means Liang Liang’s future reproductive capabilities have "most certainly been compromised."
He noted that if infants with cryptorchidism are not treated six months after birth at the latest, the chances of recovery are very low; that is to say, despite the boy retaining one of his testicles, it is unclear how well it will produce sperm - if at all.
Chen said: "Generally speaking, six hours after testicular torsion, patients lose the ability to produce sperm.
"If the angle of the twist is 90 degrees, the testis will die in a week; at 180 degrees that happens within three to four days, and it’s 12 to 24 hours at 360 degrees.
"If the spermatic cord twist exceeds 720 degrees, the testis will die within two hours."