How will my son's physician diagnose an undescended testicle?
A primary care doctor will first perform a full genital examination, and will try to locate the testicle if it is not in the scrotum. If one can't be felt, your son may be referred to a pediatric urologist or pediatric surgeon for a more complete examination and to rule out two related conditions:
- Ectopic testes - If the scrotum is empty, the doctor may first try to determine if your child has ectopic testicles, a related condition in which the testicle is somehow diverted from its normal pathway of descent and as a result, lies in an abnormal location outside this pathway. To check for this, the physician will feel the areas where ectopic testes are sometimes located.
- Retractile testes - Retractile testicles move in and out of the scrotum. Your doctor may try to rule out this condition by trying to bring the testicle downward. If the testis can be brought all the way into the scrotum, it is retractile and requires no treatment.
If your doctor determines that the testicle is not ectopic or retractile, the diagnosis is usually an undescended testicle. Your child will then be referred to a pediatric surgeon for further evaluation.