Page 1 - Undescended Testicle
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Urological Health

                                Undescended testicle

        Occasionally, a young boy is found to have an undescended testicle. This sometimes requires
        correction by surgery.

             our child has been found to have an                  Undescended testicles are often associated with
        Yundescended testicle (cryptorchidism). This              hernias, which may allow bowel to move from the
        condition affects about 4% of newborn boys. The           abdomen through the groin into the scrotum. These
        testicles, where male hormones and sperm are              hernias are routinely repaired when the testicle is
        produced, begin their development in the abdomen          brought into the scrotum surgically.
        next to the kidneys. With growth before birth, they
        normally descend through the groin into the scrotal       An undescended testicle slightly increases the risk of
        sac.                                                      testicular tumour development after puberty. These
                                                                  rare cancers are more common in men who have
        In some boys the descent of one or both testicles is      had an undescended testicle. Bringing the testicle
        incomplete, with the testicle coming to lie somewhere     into the scrotum may not decrease the risk of cancer
        along the course of its descent from the abdomen          developing, but it does allow its earlier detection by
        to the scrotum. This is often detected by physical        examination of the testicle. The earlier such a tumour
        examination shortly after birth.                          is detected, the greater the chance of cure.

                   Descent of right testicle from                 An undescended testicle is more prone to injury,
               abdomen through groin into scrotum                 particularly when located in the groin. Finally, the
                                                                  normal appearance of two testicles in the scrotum
                                                                  may be important for a boy’s self-esteem, particularly
                                                                  at puberty. For all of these reasons, it is important that
                                                                  an undescended testicle be corrected.

                                                                  When physical examination locates an undescended
                                                                  testicle, usually in the groin, no other investigation is
                                                                  normally necessary. If the testicle cannot be located,
                                                    Roula Drossis  some boys, a testicle does not develop at all; in
                                       scrotum                    it must be determined whether or not it is present. In
                                                                  others, it may shrivel up before birth often due to a
                                                                  disruption of its blood supply.
        An undescended testicle may come down on its
        own in the first few months of life. In general, such     Ultrasound examination may identify a testicle in the
        spontaneous descent does not occur after six              groin or abdomen. In some cases, the abdominal
        months of age at which point your urologist will likely   cavity is inspected with a scope passed through the
        recommend treatment to bring the testicle into the        navel under anesthesia (laparoscopy) to localize a
        scrotum.                                                  testicle undetectable by other means.

        Associated problems                                       Treatment

        Infertility (difficulty fathering children) has been      Surgical correction of an undescended testicle
        associated with undescended testicles.  The risk of       (orchiopexy) is usually recommended before two
        infertility is minimal if only one testicle is undescended   years of age. This outpatient operation requires
        and more significant if both are affected. Fertility      a general anesthetic. A small incision is made in
        potential may be improved when the testicle is            the groin and the testicle is freed from its tethering
        brought down to the scrotum before two years of age.      attachments. When encountered, a hernia is repaired.
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