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An undescended testicle (cryptorchidism) is the absence of one or both testicles from the scrotum. In the womb, the testicles form inside the abdomen and then move down (descend) through a space between the groin muscles into the scrotum. Sometimes the testicles do not descend or only descend into the inguinal canal but not the scrotum. In most cases, undescended testicles will descend within the first 4 months after birth.
It is important to get treatment for an undescended testicle. Getting treatment will lower the chance of infertility and testicular cancer. Sperm production can begin as early as 12 months of age, so it is recommended that treatment occur between 6 and 12 months of age.
The main symptom of this condition is not feeling or seeing a testicle where you would expect it to be.
Undescended testicles are diagnosed with a physical exam. During this exam, a health care provider will check to see whether the testicle is still in the abdomen.
If the testicle is not felt during the physical exam, a procedure called laparoscopy may be done to find out where the testicle is located or whether there is a testicle at all. During this procedure, a small incision is made and a thin, lighted tubeis used to look into the abdomen.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.
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