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Dr Mufique Gajdhar, MS, M.CH, FACS
General healthUndescended Testis

Undescended Testis

What are the symptoms of undescended testes in children?

When one or both male testes have not passed down (descended) into the scrotal sac, it is known as undescended testes. This is a problem that some newborn baby boys suffer from. In the majority of cases, only one teste is involved. About one out of every ten instances affects both testes.

What causes a child’s testes to be undescended?

Babies who are born early are more likely to have undescended testes (preterm or premature babies). This is due to the fact that the testes do not pass down from the belly into the scrotal sac until the seventh month of a baby’s uterine growth. Hormone imbalances or spina bifida are two other possibilities.

It may be caused by a reflex that causes a testicle to move up and down from the scrotum back into the groin (retractile testes). In some cases, the testes are missing. In rare cases, a boy who has inguinal hernia repair may develop undescended testes.

Which children are at risk for undescended testes?

This condition occurs in about 3 in 100 to 1 in 20 male babies. A baby is more at risk if he:

Is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy (preterm)

Is small for gestational age

Is low birth weight

Has a family member with the condition

What are the symptoms of undescended testes in a child?

Symptoms can be a bit different in each child. The most common sign is when a healthcare provider can’t feel the testes during an exam. Most children don’t have symptoms when they have an undescended testicle.

How are undescended testes diagnosed in a child?

We will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. We may also ask about your family’s health history. We will examine your child’s scrotum for testes at every well-child check. In some cases, imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI are needed to find the testicles within the pelvis.

How are undescended testes treated in a child?

Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. In many cases, the testes descend on their own into the scrotum by age 3 months. In most cases, the testes pass down by age 6 months without any treatment.

In other cases, treatment may be needed. This may include:

Surgery – The undescended testicle may be moved into the scrotal sac with surgery. This surgery is called orchiopexy. It is often done between ages 6 and 18 months. It works for most children.

Hormone therapy – Certain hormones may trigger the body to make testosterone. This helps the testes descend into the scrotal sac. This treatment is only used in some cases. Talk with us to know about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medicines.

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Dr. Mufique Gajdhar is a Pediatric and Neonatal Surgeon with 21 years of experience in healthcare. He is double board-certified in General and Pediatric Surgery. Dr. Mufique is the Head of the Division and Assistant Professor of Pediatric Surgery.

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