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Undescended Testes

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Undescended Testes



An undescended testicle (cryptorchidism) is when a boy's testicle does not move down into the scrotum. Testicles form inside the belly before birth. They move down into the scrotum just before or after birth.

Undescended Testicle.

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It is not always known why this happens. It is thought to be a problem with the way the testicles form.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • Low birth weight
  • Being born very early
  • A family history of undescended testicles
  • Klinefelter syndrome or other chromosomal problems
  • Factors in the mother during pregnancy, such as:


The main symptom is not being able to see or feel the testicle.


The doctor will ask about the child's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the testicles. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Images may need to be taken to find the testicle. This can be done with ultrasound or laparoscopy.


Treatment is needed to avoid problems such as infertility and testicular cancer.

Choices are:

  • Waiting for the testicle to descend on its own
  • Surgery to move the testicle down and stitch it into place
  • Hormone therapy—this is not a common treatment


There are no current guidelines to prevent undescended testes.





  • Cryptorchidism. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/cryptorchidism.
  • Tekgul, S., Dogan, H.S., et al; European Society for Paediatric Urology and European Association of Urology (ESPU/EAU). Guidelines on paediatric urology. European Association of Urology website. Available at: https://uroweb.org/guidelines/pediatric-urology.
  • Undescended testicles. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/undescended-testicles.html.
  • Undescended testicles. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/genitourinary-tract/Pages/Undescended-Testicles.aspx.


  • Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.