What is cryptorchidism?
One or both testes is the absence from the scrotum is called Cryptorchidism.
As the baby grows in the uterus, baby testicles develop in your abdomen. To later descend to the inner inguinal ring and, during the last months of gestation, to descend into the scrotum. When the testicles do not reach the scrotum, cryptorchidism occurs.
Cryptorchidism is a frequent pathology due to the absence of any testicles in the scrotal sac when both or one testicles do not descend into the scrotum. The literal meaning of the word would be that of ‘hidden testicle’ and affects 5% of newborns.
It is not a painful pathology for the baby but can cause long-term problems such as a risk of testicular tumor or infertility. Cryptorchidism is not the same as the retractile testicle, which is a testicle that has gone down well but is sometimes raised and lowered easily.
Types of cryptorchidism and ectopic testicle
The Association of Pediatrics describes the following types of situations:
- True cryptorchidism or congenital undescended testicles: occurs when the testicle is not in the scrotum, it can be felt in the inguinal canal, but it is not possible to lower it.
- Absent anorectic or testicles: In this case, the testicle is not in the scrotum, in the inguinal canal, or in the abdomen. Ultrasound or surgical exploration is necessary for this diagnosis.
- Ectopic testicle: when the testis is located outside the path of the inguinal canal, as in a subcutaneous location.
- Undescended testicles acquired: initially, they were not in the scrotum, they fell during the first year of life, but they rose again. In these cases, it is necessary to follow up to 5 or 10 years.
- Testicle in the elevator : when the testicle is not in the scrotum but can be lowered manually. Long-term follow-up is necessary.
Treatment of cryptorchidism
Generally, the testicle will descend during the first year of the child’s life, without the need for any treatment, and the pediatrician will carry out the necessary examination in the different health checks. If you have any questions, you may request an ultrasound to confirm the presence or not of the testicle.
If cryptorchidism is maintained after the year, there are two types of treatment. The most commonly used is surgical, called orchidopexy, with high success rates and minimal complications. The other treatment is hormonal, but it is less effective and less and less used.
The risks associated with cryptorchidisms, such as infertility, the risk of testicular cancer, testicular torsion, and inguinal hernia, are preventable with the surgical treatment of this pathology.