Undescended testes at UnityPoint Health - Center for Urology


Undescended Testes

Testicles typically form in the abdomen as a male fetus grows inside the mother's womb and then drop into the scrotum shortly before birth. In approximately 30 percent of premature births and 4 percent of term births, the decent doesn't occur.

In some cases, testicles will complete the descent by six months of age, but if it doesn't happen, it is important to get treatment as fertility problems could occur later in life. Additionally, an undescended testicle is at more risk to to injury, formation of tumors or the development of inguinal hernias.

What causes undescended testes?

An exact cause isn't know, but a combination of genetics, maternal health and environmental factors could disrupt development of the testicles.

How are undescended testes treated?

If surgery is required, a procedure called orchiopexy involves a small incision in the groin to lower the testicle into the scrotum. It is then fixed into place and most boys will experience recovery time of about one week.