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Cryptorchidism (or undescended testes) is a condition seen in newborns when one or both of the male testes have not passed down into the scrotal sac. Thirty percent of cases are bilateral (involve both testes). Cryptorchidism is more commonly seen in premature males because the testes do not descend from the abdomen to the scrotal sac until the seventh month of fetal development.
Undescended testes may occur for several reasons. While prematurity is a leading cause, other causes may include hormonal disorders, spina bifida, retractile testes (a reflex that causes a testicle to move back and forth from the scrotum to the groin), or testicular absence.
A non-palpable testis (unable to feel upon examination) is the most common symptom of cryptorchidism. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms of cryptorchidism may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis of undescended testes is made based on a complete medical history and physical examination.
Undescended testes usually resolves without any intervention by the time that the infant is 6 months old. Resolution occurs as the testicles (or testes) descend from the inguinal canal (a small internal passageway that runs along the abdomen near the groin) into the scrotal sac. If the testicles (or testes) have not descended by 6 months of age, the testicles may not descend at all.
Specific treatment for undescended testes will be determined by your child's physician based on:
Treatment may include:
If cryptorchidism is not repaired, the following complications may occur as your child grows and matures:
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