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Undescended Testicles

Testicles should lower from the abdomen into the scrotum before birth. Some boys are born with one or both testicles still inside the abdomen or groin. If a male infant’s testicles have not dropped into the scrotum by the time he is a year old, the baby should be evaluated. In some newborns, it may affect one or both testicles. In about half of these cases, the testes will descend within the first year of life without medical treatment.

Why Surgery is Recommended

Most physicians recommend surgery for babies whose testicles do not descend on their own. Having corrective surgery reduces  potential long-term damage and conditions that can develop as the child ages. If the testicles do not go into the scrotum, fertility problems could result later in life. Also, hernias can sometimes form and cut off the blood supply. Some studies also indicate an increased chance of cancer from undescended testicles.

Orchiopexy  Procedure

Laparoscopic orchiopexy, a minimally invasive surgery, brings the testes back into the scrotum. Small keyhole incisions are made in one or both sides of the groin and in the abdomen, allowing a camera and instruments to operate inside the body. When the cord that holds the testes in the scrotum is located, the surgeon releases it from the surrounding tissue so that the cord's full length is used. A small cut is made in the scrotum, and a pouch is created. Then, the testicle is dropped into the scrotum and secured. Sometimes a button will be used to hold the testicle in place until it is fully healed. This is removed a few weeks following surgery.

More Information

Learn more about undescended testicles from the American Pediatric Surgical Association.

Learn What to Expect from Orchiopexy