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Undescended Testicle - Topic Overview

How is it treated?

Usually doctors recommend a wait-and-see approach for newborns. If the testicle hasn't dropped on its own within 6 months, your doctor may recommend surgery (orchiopexy or orchidopexy). Surgery is done when the baby is 9 to 15 months old. It is safe and effective and has few risks. Most babies recover quickly.

When babies have a testicle that can't be felt, doctors may do a different surgery that needs only a small cut (laparoscopy).

Another treatment is hormone therapy. It may cause the testicle to drop down into the scrotum. If it works, surgery isn't needed. But it doesn't always work, and it may cause side effects.

Why is it important to treat an undescended testicle?

Treatment is important, because having an undescended testicle increases the risk of:

  • Infertility. Damage to a testicle's sperm-making ability can begin as early as 12 months of age. That's why many doctors advise treating an undescended testicle by the time a baby is 1 year old and no later than age 2. Treatment helps lower the chance of infertility.
  • Cancer of the testicles. Men who were born with undescended testicles have a higher rate of testicular cancer than other men. But this cancer is rare. It can be cured if found early. If you are a young man who was born with an undescended testicle, talk with your doctor about what you should do.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 28, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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