Undescended testicle repair is surgery to correct testicles that have not dropped down into the correct position in the scrotum.
The testicles develop in the infant's abdomen as the baby grows in the womb. They drop down into the scrotum in the last months before birth.
In some cases, one or both testicles do not drop into the correct position. About half of these cases will descend within the first year of life without treatment.
Undescended testicle repair surgery is recommended for patients whose testicles do not descend on their own.
The surgery is done while the child is asleep (unconscious) and pain-free under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes a cut in the groin. This is where most undescended testes are located.
After finding the cord that holds the testis in the scrotum, the surgeon unties it from the tissue around it. This allows the cord to extend to its full length. A small cut is made in the scrotum, and a pouch is created. The testicle is pulled down into the scrotum, and stitched into place. Stitches are used to close the surgical cuts.
In some cases, the procedure can be done laparoscopically. This involves smaller surgical cuts.
When the testicle is located very high, correction may require two stages. Separate surgeries are done several months apart.
Why the Procedure is Performed
An undescended testicle is different from a "retractile" testicle. In this condition, the testicle drops into the scrotum and then pulls back. Retractile testicles do not need surgery.
Risks for any anesthesia are:
- Reactions to medications
- Problems breathing
Risks for any surgery are:
After the Procedure
Undescended testicle repair is successful in most cases. A small percentage of men will have fertility problems.
Men who have had undescended testicles should do monthly self-exams for the rest of their lives to look for possible tumors. Men with undescended testes have higher rates of testicular cancer than those with normal testicle development, even if they have a fully descended testicle on the other side. There is also a higher risk of testicular cancer in the other testicle that descended normally.
The surgery may be done on an outpatient basis. Bed rest is recommended for the first 2 to 3 days. Avoid strenuous activity, including bicycling, for at least 1 month.
Orchidopexy; Inguinal orchidopexy; Orchiopexy; Repair of undescended testicle; Cryptorchidism repair
Barthold JS. Abnormalities of the testes and scrotum and their surgical management.In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 132.
Elder JS. Disorders and anomalies of the scrotal contents.In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 539.
Update Date 1/21/2015
Updated by: Scott Miller, MD, urologist in private practice in Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.