An undescended testicle
is a testicle that does not move into its proper position in the scrotum, the bag of skin hanging below the penis, before birth. The testicle may be in the abdomen, groin, or somewhere near the pubic area. An undescended testicle may occur on one or both sides, but more commonly affects the right testicle. A doctor can usually palpate to find where the testicle is, but sometimes an ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
, or even laparoscopy may be needed to locate it.
When testicles are not found in scrotum
- A retractile testicle is a testicle that may move back and forth between the scrotum and the groin. It is most commonly found in children between six and seven years of age and almost never once a child becomes a teenager. It often occurs to both testicles. It is common for the testicles to descend back into the scrotum when the child is asleep. Testicles are usually of normal size and can be moved into the scrotum manually. The problem only lasts a brief time and does not require treatment.
- An ectopic testicle is one that moved from the retroperitoneum through the external ring and away from the scrotum. In 80% of cases, only one testicle is affected, and in 75% of cases, the testicle is found in the superficial inguinal pouch. The testicle is usually of normal size and spermatogenesis and androgen function are normal. The treatment is surgery. Hormone replacement therapy is ineffective.
- Monorchia or anorchia (absence of testes) is rare and only found in 3.3 to 5.2% of cases of undescended testes. It usually affects one side (monorchia) and may be caused by the testicle not developing due to vas deferens hypoplasia or agenesis of the kidneys and/or ureters or due to testicular torsion, causing loss of blood flow and ultimately atrophy, leading to “vanishing testes.”