Cryptorchidism Introduction

Undescended testes (cryptorchidism) is a condition present at birth in which one or both testes fail to descend through the inguinal canal into the scrotal sac. The testes usually descend spontaneously by 1 year of age. If not, a child may receive human chorionic gonadotropin therapy or surgery (orchiopexy) performed between 1 to 2 years of age. Surgery prevents damage to the testes that may be affected by exposure to a higher temperature in the abdomen. Repair at a younger age also prevents the adverse effect on body image and embarrassment caused by the difference in the appearance of the empty smaller scrotal sac. Undescended testes that are associated with the presence of an inguinal hernia are repaired at the time of herniorrhaphy. Failure of the testes to descend can occur at any point along the normal path of descent into the scrotum. Symptoms of undescended testes rarely cause discomfort. The entire scrotum, or one side, will appear smaller than normal and may appear incompletely developed. Congenital inguinal hernias are frequently present with this defect.

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