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About undescended testicle
UW Health Kids Urology experts understand the stress and awkward situations that can arise when your child needs urologic care. It's a sensitive issue and together we take excellent care of your child every step of the way.
Signs of undescended testicle(s)
Not seeing or feeling a testicle where you would expect it to be in the scrotum is the main sign of an undescended testicle. In most cases, the healthcare provider can feel the testicle above the scrotum, but in some cases the testicle is located high in the abdomen.
Is it common?
Undescended testicle(s) (also known as cryptorchidism) affect about 1-4.5% of newborns with a higher incidence (30-45%) in preterm male babies. In roughly half of these cases, the testicle(s) will descend on its own within the first three to six months. If this doesn’t happen for your child, we can help with a surgical option.
Simple procedure, fast recovery
An outpatient surgery called an orchiopexy can relocate the testicle(s) to the scrotum. Our team commonly uses a technique involving one small incision instead of two. This is not only associated with less operating time but also results in faster recovery for your son. We recommend a child undergo this surgery when they are between 6 and 12 months of age to decrease the risk of complications, such as loss of testicular function or cancer, later in life.
Our pediatric urologists at UW Health and American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin are committed to being there through your child's entire treatment process; before, during and after surgery.
Answers to common questions
Undescended testicles are a very common condition occurring in nearly 5% of newborn boys. Many parents are relieved to learn that this condition, also known as cryptorchidism, is benign, but it can bring up questions.
An undescended testicle, or cryptorchidism, simply means a testicle hasn't moved into the scrotum before birth. The scrotum is the bag of skin hanging below the penis. Usually one testicle is affected, but in roughly 10 percent of cases both testicles may be undescended. In most cases, your son’s undescended testicle will move into the proper position on its own, within the first few months of life. If it doesn't correct itself, a quick surgery by one of our Pediatric Urologists can relocate the testicle(s) into the scrotum.
No, there is no pain related to this condition.
If your child’s testicle does not descend on its own by the time he is 6 months old, your provider may recommend surgery to move it down into the scrotum. This surgery, called orchiopexy, reduces long-term effects including risk of testicular cancer or infertility. It may also help to improve your son’s body image through adolescence and adulthood.
The surgeons at American Family Children’s Hospital are experts in the treatment of undescended testicles and they are committed to making your son’s genital area look as normal as possible.
Yes, your son should still go through puberty.
There is a chance. While there is no genetic predisposition for undescended testicle(s), they do run in families.
Absolutely, your son should be able to enjoy a normal, active childhood just like his friends and family.
Undescended testicles may increase the risk of infertility. However, boys who have one undescended testicle tend to father children at the same rate as those who are not affected by the condition at all. Boys who have two undescended testicles — a much lower percentage of patients — do have a significantly lower fertility rate. Nevertheless, with the current advanced reproductive technology, we believe that most children with undescended testicles could father children in the future.
Children born with undescended testicles have a slightly higher risk of developing testicular cancer, even after corrective surgery.
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