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Southern DHB Children's Health Outpatients - Otago

Public Service, Paediatrics

Undescended Testes

Undescended testes occur in less than 4% of children, and are more common in premature babies. Many “undescended” testes are simply lying very high in the groin and can be brought down by hand, and some true undescended testes will come down by themselves in the first year of life. After one year, undescended testes always remain so.
It is important for your GP to refer your child to a paediatric surgeon (children’s surgeon) if the testes are not felt in the scrotum. If not treated there may be problems in adult life with infertility or an increased risk of cancer of the undescended testis. A surgeon will see your child in a hospital outpatient clinic.
When will my child be seen?
Most children will be seen within six weeks of the referral.
What will happen at the appointment?
The surgeon will examine your child carefully to see if the testis can be felt in the body. If the testis can be felt, a simple operation under general anaesthetic (putting your child to sleep during the operation) would be performed between 9 and 12 months of age. If the testes cannot be felt, a different type of operation would be performed so that the surgeon can check where the testes are. In some cases, the testes are absent.
Both types of surgery involve an overnight stay in hospital.

This page was last updated at 11:25AM on May 13, 2021.