What is an Undescended Testis (Testicle)?
When the testes, (one or both) cannot be palpated (felt) in the scrotum, they are called undescended. As a boy baby is growing in the womb, the testes are developing in the abdomen near the kidneys. They travel down a tunnel between the muscles called the inguinal canal and down into the scrotum. An undescended testis cannot be brought down into the scrotum or does not stay down easily when the muscle is relaxed. When the testis does not come down into normal position by six months to one year of age, it should be surgically fixed.
Some boys have retractile testis. There is a muscle around the testis, the cremaster muscle, which pulls the testes into the abdomen. This is a protective reflex that protects the testes from cold or trauma. Retractile testes are not undescended and do not need to be fixed.
The testis requires the cool environment of the scrotum to function properly (produce male hormones and sperm). The longer the testis is exposed to a warmer environment (body temperature), the greater the chances, later in life of damage, infertility, and cancer. It is not clearly understood why these boys are at increased risk of testicular cancer but bringing the testis down into the scrotum allows for regular exams as your son grows. If the testis is found to be abnormal at the time of surgery, it will be removed.
What can I expect from Surgery?
The operation is done on an outpatient basis. This means your child is brought to the hospital on the day of surgery and then goes home a few hours after he recovers. Lab work is not necessary unless your son has other medical problems.
Plan on a total of 3-5 days off work including the surgical day. This will allow for 2 quiet days after the operation
Bring for your son:
Bring for Yourself:
It is best, when possible, to make arrangements for siblings to stay at home on the day of surgery, in order for you to participate fully in your childs care.
Care of the Incision:
There will be an incision in the inguinal skin crease or on the scotum. Steri-strips may be applied. A clear plastic dressing (Tegaderm) or a gauze dressing will cover the incision. The clear plastic dressing is waterproof. Remove this dressing after 5 days. If the dressing is gauze, replace it if it gets wet or soiled and remove it after 3 days. Expect bruising and swelling for at least 3-5 days. No sutures go through the skin layer, so none are to be removed. If Steri-strips were applied they will fall off.
Feeding Your Child After Surgery:
Your son may have a regular diet for age, however his appetite may not be normal for 24-36 hours. This is normal. If so, give frequent small amounts of clear liquids (juice, soda, sugar water).
Constipation is common after surgery. Anesthesia and pain medicine (Roxicet) can contribute to constipation. Give your child plenty of clear liquids after surgery. Call the office if you child goes longer than 48 hours without a bowel movement.
Keep the diaper area clean and dry. DO NOT rub or pull. There will be some swelling and bruising around the scrotum for 3-5 days. Only a sponge bath or shower for 5 days.
Your child must be closely supervised to avoid accidents for 14 days. He may return to school 48-72 hours after surgery. No physical education classes for 4 weeks.
Call 410-328-5730 for any questions or if there is:
*If you have any questions about the surgery, please call: the nurse practitioner or surgeon caring for your child: 410-328-5730.