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Undescended Testicle

When the testicle is not in the scrotum

Some children are born without testis in the scrotum. Commonly, this is called “undescended testicle” or cryptorchidism. In most cases, there is a palpable testicle that is not normally situated into the scrotum. A reexamination is scheduled at the age of 6 months old for deciding what must be done: follow up or surgical correction.

A non-palpable testicle in the newborn will need supplementary examinations, starting with ultrasonographic evaluation.

The cause of "empty" scrotum are:

  • Prematurity - the testicles did not have time to descend, but this condition can resolve spontaneously in the first months of life.
  • True cryptorchidism - the testicles that originate inside the abdomen have not completed the descent process going through the groin until the bottom of the scrotum.
  • Ectopic testicles - the testicles had a wrong descent and stayed in an inappropriate place (perineum, groin, pubic area, contralateral)
  • Retractile testicles - the testicles move between the scrotum and the groin, due to the activity of the cremaster muscle that is part of the spermatic cord.
  • Ascending testicles - The testicles that were normally located at birth, ascend to an abnormal location during the growth process.
  • Anorchia - the testicle does not exist, because it did not develop embryologically (rare) or because there was a torsion of the fetal testicle that then atrophied completely (vanishing testis).