Undescended Testicles Treatment
As the name suggests, undescended testicles are the ones that have not positioned themselves in their correct position which is inside the scrotum, the sack hanging below the penis. The condition is also medically known as cryptorchidism.
Usually, testicles in babies descend within 9 months of age. It is a fairly common condition in boys affecting 1 in every 100 boys. Most cases of cryptorchidism affect only one testicle; however, in around 10% cases, it affects both the testicles.
What Causes Undescended Testicles?
There is no definitive cause as to why this condition occurs. Although, it is believed to be a combination of factors like genetics, mother’s health, and environmental factors. In addition, a few risk factors could be:
- Family history of undescended testicles
- Prematurely born
- Low weight during birth
- Smoking or alcohol consumption by the mother
- Exposure of the mother to pesticides or other toxins
- Born with down syndrome
- Born to a diabetic or obese mother
- Muscle development problem in the scrotum
Dr. Mallikarjuna Reddy, a Robotic, Paediatric & Reconstructive Urologist, cautions you, “If an undescended testicle is left untreated, it can eventually damage the testicle entirely. It can cause fertility issues in the future. Such men also have more risk of getting inguinal hernia and testicular cancer.” So, it is important to get in touch with your pediatrician if your child’s testicles have not descended even after 6 months.
How Is An Undescended Testicle Treated?
An undescended testicle can usually be diagnosed with just a physical exam. However, to determine the underlying cause, imaging techniques like X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc. come in handy.
Initially, the condition is monitored up to about 1 year of age to see if the testicle descends naturally. If it doesn’t, laparoscopic orchiopexy surgery is usually the way to go. In this surgery, the doctor makes a small incision in the groin to let the testicle drop to the correct position. It is an outpatient treatment and you can expect full recovery within a week. This surgery has a success rate of nearly 100%.
In some cases, the doctor may need to remove constricting tissue or stretch the ligament to help the testicle come to the intended position. In other cases, the testicles may not be viable at all and will need to be removed entirely.
After a successful surgery, where one or both the testicles survive, there is practically no risk of having decreased fertility when the child grows up; he can live a healthy and fulfilling life without needing any lifestyle adjustments.