Undescended testes occur mostly in newborn babies and the condition can be identified at birth.
The condition occurs when one of the testicles does not move into its proper position in the scrotum. Generally, it is just one of the testicles that does not move into its proper position rather than both.
Often, the testicle will move into the scrotum without needing medical help. However, an undescended testis that does not move into position after a few months may need the help of modern medicine.
Undescended testicles are a common condition in which one or both of the testes, the male reproductive glands, do not completely descend from the abdomen into the scrotum during gestation.
The function of the testicle is to produce hormones and sperm. If the testicle is not in the correct place it may not grow, develop or function correctly.
An undescended testicle may be associated with an increased risk of testicular cancer if not corrected prior to puberty.
Most males will be diagnosed with an undescended testis as a baby. An examination shortly after birth will give doctors and midwives the information they need to diagnose an undescended testicle. As males get older, the chances of the testicle moving into the scrotum becomes rarer. By the age of one year, the testicle should be in place. If it is not, surgery may be required.
The main evidence of an undescended testis is the absence of a testicle when feeling the scrotum. The testicle should be felt when touching the scrotum. If nothing can be felt, then the testicle may not have moved into the correct position.
Most cases of undescended testis are found in childhood and many cases correct themselves within a few months. Adult males who are found to have an undescended testis may develop fertility issues or testicular cancer later in life.
Treatment for an undescended testicle can vary. Treatments will be dictated by the condition and whether there is a problem with either testicle.
Males with an undescended testicle may be at greater risk of infertility later in life. In addition, they may be more likely to develop testicular cancer. Treating an undescended testicle early in life may prevent health complications down the line.
Surgery is typically the way an undescended testicle is repaired in males. The surgeon will move the testis into place and fix it into the scrotal wall. Individuals may undergo laparoscopic or open surgery to remedy the condition. In addition, a microdissection sperm retrieval may be conducted to extract sperm at the same time.