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Undescended testicles (also known as cryptorchidism) is a common childhood condition in which one or both of a baby boy's testicles (testes) have not moved down into their proper place in the scrotum.. It's estimated about 1 in every 25 boys are born with undescended testicles.
For most boys the testicles should be down in the scrotum at birth. If a testicle is not down by 3 months of age then it is not going to come down on its own. In this case boys require a procedure called an orchidopexy – which just means an operation to bring the testicle down into the scrotum.
National guidelines in the UK suggest that surgery for undescended testicles should be complete by 12-18 months of age.
It is likely that the sooner the surgery is performed the better the outcome will be. This is because after 12-18 months there may be changes that occur in the testicle that affect both the fertility potential and the risk of testicular cancer. It is vital that the testicle is placed in the scrotum so that it can easily be examined into adulthood.
During the initial consultation your son’s surgeon will examine him. If the testicle is too high but can still be felt then your son requires a single-stage orchidopexy.
If the testicle can’t be identified during the clinical examination then your son will require a key-hole procedure to look inside his tummy and may require a two-stage key-hole procedure to safely bring the testicle down into the scrotum.
Both single and staged orchidopexy procedures are performed under full general anaesthetic and usually take about 45 minutes to complete. Dissolving stitches and glue are used to close any of the small openings.
Both single and staged orchidopexy procedures are performed as a day case, which means your son will stay for a few hours after surgery and then will be allowed to go home.
Small risks of bleeding or infection. 1-2% risk of injury to the sperm tube, atrophy (where the testis progressively shrinks after the surgery), or that the procedure might need to be re-done.
Self-referrals or GP referrals are both welcome.
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