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).