Urology Expert Forum
Undescended Testicle
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Undescended Testicle

My son who is 9 months old had surgery to bring down his left testicle earlier this week. There are several questions as follows :
1. What are the chances (percentage wise)of this left testicle
   being infertile or having testicular cancer later on?
   Does the timing of the surgery helps in reducing these risks?
2. Is this left testicle more prone to torsion and if so what
   are the symptons that we should be looking out for?
3. Will this testicle remain healthy and functional or will
   it ever shrivel up and die early?
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Dear Li,
The answers to your questions are as follows:
An undescended testicle tends to have a decreased capacity to produce sperm. The longer the testis is left undescended, the greater the likelihood of damage to the sperm production.  The incidence of infertility in the case of a one sided maldescent is 10 to 20% and 40 to 80% in bilateral undescended testicles. The earlier the testis is brought down, the greater the chances of recovering sperm production.  Surgery before the age of 18 months is, therefore recommended.  As far as tumor formation, an undescended testicle is reported to be 35 to 48 times more likely to develop malignancies than the normal testicle. This tends to occur mainly at the time of puberty.
An undescended testicle is more susceptible to undergo torsion than a normal testicle. However, once the testicle is brought down and fixed in the scrotum, the likelihood of torsion would decrease.  The usual symptoms of torsion include an acutely swollen and painful testicle.
The testicle that is brought down, especially at an early age is unlikely to "shrivel up and die".  It is important for this testicle to be examined periodically.

This information is provided for general medical educational purposes only.  Please consult your physician for diagnostic and treatment options pertaining to your specific medical condition.  More individualized care is available at the Henry Ford Hospital and its satellites (1 800 653-6568).

Sincerely,
HFHS M.D.-BE
*keyword: undescended testis
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