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Starship Paediatric Surgery and Urology

Public Service, General Surgery, Paediatrics, Urology

Undescended Testes

Undescended testes occur when one or both of the testicles do not reach the scrotum and remain inside the groin and occasionally the abdomen. The condition occurs in two to three percent of newborns. They are more common in premature babies.

In approximately 50% of cases a testicle that is undescended at birth will naturally correct itself by the age of three months. If a testicle is still undescended after three months of age, a referral to a surgeon is required.

At the appointment, the surgeon will examine your child carefully to see if the testis can be felt in the body. If the testis can be felt then a reasonably straightforward operation is required to bring down and fix the testicle in the scrotum. This is usually performed between 9 and 12 months of age. If the testes cannot be felt, a different type of operation would be performed so that the surgeon can check where the testes are. In some cases, the testes are absent.
Depending on the type of surgery your child has he may need to stay in hospital overnight. For straightforward cases you will generally be able to go home later the same day.
Leaving an undescended testicle uncorrected can contribute to infertility and increases the risk of testicular cancer in later life.

This page was last updated at 1:21PM on May 10, 2021.