Undescended Testicles

Undescended Testicle (Cryptorchidism)

What is cryptorchidism?

Normally testicles develop in the abdomen, near the kidney, and descend through the abdominal wall, then through the inguinal canal, and enter the scrotum. Cryptorchidism (or undescended testes) is a condition seen in newborns when one or both of the male testes have not passed down into the scrotal sac. Thirty percent of cases are bilateral (involve both testes).

What causes undescended testes?

Undescended testes may occur for several reasons. Most often we don’t have a good reason for the testicle not to descend completely, but known causes may include hormonal disorders, abdominal wall disorders, and chromosomal defects. Retractile testes can occur in boys where the testicle descended completely but a muscle reflex causes a testicle to move back and forth from the scrotum to the groin. About 3% of boys with retractile testes can end up with a re-ascended testicle by age 10, where the muscle has contracted and the testicle cannot be manipulated into the scrotum. Sometimes a boy has a hernia repair as an infant, and scar contraction pulls the testicle out of the scrotum as the child grows.