In 3% of newborn boys, the testes may not be felt to be in the scrotal sac. By the time they are 1 year of age, only 1% of boys will have undescended testes. Research has shown that most testes will spontaneously drop into the scrotal sac by 6 months of age, but if this hasn’t happened, then referral to a specialist is indicated. We will then examine the baby and check the position of the testis. If it does not come down into the correct position easily, but is palpable (i.e. easy to feel) in the groin, then we would recommend an orchidopexy at about 9 months of age. This day-case operation releases the testis and fixes it in a pouch in the scrotal sac. There are a number of reasons for recommending surgery at this age:
- Research has shown that delaying surgery will slow the maturation of germ cells in the testis and hence reduce its fertility potential
- Undescended testes are at risk of twisting and may therefore be lost if not salvaged in time
- Undescended testis carry an increased risk of testicular cancel later in adulthood. The operation reduces, but does not cancel, this increased risk.
- Cosmetic reasons.
If the testis is absent and cannot be felt in the groin, surgery is also indicated but would involve a laparoscopy (telescope via the belly-button) to initially locate the testis. Other investigations such as ultrasound only delay time to surgery and are not indicated. Commonly, the testis is retractile, i.e. pops in and out of the scrotum. This is quite common in young boys and initially only needs observation.
Please visit your GP and request a referral to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Paediatric Urology
Miss MK Farrugia
Please e-mail [email protected] or book an appointment in Chelsea & Westminster Hospital (0203-315-8599) or BUPA Cromwell Hospital (0207-460-5700)