What Are Undescended Testicles?

Undescended testicles is a condition in which a baby boy’s testicles have not moved into the scrotum before birth. This can happen to one or both testicles.

How Does This Condition Happen?

When a mother is pregnant, her baby’s testicles start to grow in his abdomen (stomach area). As the baby develops, the testicles drop into the scrotum naturally. In babies with one or both undescended testicles, the testicles do not drop into the scrotum as they should. Doctors do not know exactly what causes undescended testicles. But they do know it is not caused by anything you or your partner did during pregnancy.

How Do Doctors Test for Undescended Testicles?

After your baby is born, the doctor will check if they can see and feel your baby’s testicles in the scrotum.

How Do Doctors Treat Undescended Testicles?

Usually, the testicles drop into the scrotum on their own. But if they do not drop by age 6-10 months, your baby will need surgery. The surgery helps bring the testicles into the correct place.

Why Is Surgery Needed?

Without surgery for an undescended testicle, your baby might have one or more of the following issues:

  • Poor development of the testicle
  • Higher risk for injury to the testicle because it is not safely in the scrotum
  • Higher risk of testicular cancer
  • Testicular torsion (when the testicle twists inside the scrotum and lowers proper blood flow to the testicles)
  • Body image issues

What Is the Outcome for Undescended Testicles?

In most cases, the doctor can put the undescended testicles into the correct place. This is a common type of surgery. Children often recover quickly after.