Undescended Testicle

Undescended testicle (also called cryptorchidism) is a condition when the testicle has not descended into the scrotum. Cryptorchidism is more common in children who have a family history of cryptorchidism, premature birth, and any condition that could affect fetal growth. Depending on the location of the undescended testicle, the urologist will recommend either watchful waiting (to see if the testicle will descend spontaneously) or surgery. If surgery is to be performed, it is best done before the child turns 18 months old.

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Boys who've had undescended testicles should have regular follow-up appointments with a urologist to make sure that no problems develop.

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Consult a urologost for a thorough examination if one or both testicles cannot be felt within the scrotum.

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The outlook is best if the condition is recognised and corrected before 2 years of age.

Additional Information

Causes & Risk Factors

The cause of an undescended testicle isn’t currently known. However, it is believed that a combination of certain factors likely increases your risk of getting undescended testicles. These include

  • If the mother has been exposed to toxic substances, chemotherapy, or radiation
  • If the baby has been born early
  • Having a family history with general problems 
  • Low birth weight
  • If the mother has diabetes

Diagnosis

An undescended testicle is usually diagnosed during a physical exam at birth or at a checkup shortly after. An X-ray or ultrasound imaging test may help with the diagnosis. Imaging scans can confirm the presence or absence of his testicle.

Treatment

Usually, the testicle moves into place within a few months. However, If a testicle has not descended on its own by the time a baby is 6 months old, he should be checked by a specialist medical doctor for treatment. This usually involves surgically repositioning the testicle into the scrotum. The procedure is usually done when the baby is 6-12 months old for the most effective results. Early treatment can lower the chances that your baby will have problems with fertility in his later years.

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