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Undescended testicles—a condition also called cryptorchidism—is fairly common.Before a baby boy is born, the testicles form in the baby’s abdomen. During the third trimester, the testicles travel from the abdomen, down the groin, and into the scrotum (the bag of skin hanging behind and under the penis). An undescended testicle is a testicle that doesn’t complete the descent process. The testicle may be located anywhere from the abdomen to the groin. This can affect one or both testicles.
Parents of baby boys who’ve been diagnosed with undescended testicles often worry, “Will my son be able to have children of his own?” Fortunately, for boys with one undescended testicle, the answer is yes in most cases.
Long-term consequences are rare, but you should be aware of them:
We treat boys with undescended testicles in the Department of Urology. In fact, we have a dedicated Andrology Program within the department that focuses specifically on male hormone and reproductive disorders. (Andrology is the field of Urology that studies and addresses conditions involving testicular function).
In cases where the undescended testicles cannot be felt by hand, laparoscopy, also known as “keyhole surgery” may be required.
Undescended testicles/cryptorchidism: Reviewed by Richard N. Yu, MD, PhD
© Boston Children’s Hospital , 2014
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