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Undescended Testicle Repair

Alternate Names

  • orchiopexy
  • orchidopexy
  • Undescended testicle

Definition

During pregnancy, the testicles develop inside the abdomen of the unborn child. Normally, they descend into the scrotum before birth or within the first year of life. If this does not occur, the condition is known as undescended testicle. A repair operation is then done to move the testicle to its proper place because it will not function properly in later life if it is left in the abdomen.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

This procedure is performed on a male who has a functioning testicle that has not descended into the scrotum, either on its own or with medical treatment.

How is the procedure performed?

The surgery can be performed under general anesthesia or regional anesthesia. General anesthesia means the person is put to sleep with medications, feels no pain, and has no awareness of the procedure. Regional anesthesia means the person is awake, but numb below the waist. A medication may be given to make the person relax.
If the testicle can be felt under the skin of the groin, the surgical procedure is relatively simple. One cut is made in the groin and another is made in the scrotum. The testicle is brought down into the scrotum and secured with stitches.
If the testicle cannot be felt, the surgeon performs the operation using laparoscopy. This involves inserting a small, lighted telescope into the abdominal cavity. This enables the surgeon to locate the testicle. The testicle can then be moved to the scrotum and secured there. The incision is closed and a sterile dressing is applied.

Sources

Professional Guide to Diseases, Sixth Edition. Springhouse: Springhouse Corporation, 1998.

The Merck Manual of Medical Information, Home edition, 1997

Griffith, H. Winter. Instructions for Patients. Philadelphia:W.B. Saunders company, 1994.

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