Undescended testicles are common in up to 30 percent of male children who are born prematurely, according to Pittsburgh-based healthcare company, UPMC. Five percent of boys born at term also have this condition. In most cases the undescended testicles will descend into the scrotum during the first year of life, but chances of testicles descending on their own after that are slim. The primary concern with undescended testicles involves the fertility of the individual involved, but men with this condition also face a slightly elevated risk of developing testicular cancer.
1. See your doctor for a complete physical examination. If you have an undescended testicle your probably already know it, but it is important for your doctor to determine whether the testicle never descended and is located inside the abdomen, or if it never developed at all. X-rays are ineffective in diagnosing an undescended testicle, so a laparoscopic exam may be required.
2. Discuss treatment options with your doctor. It may be possible to perform an orchiopexy, a surgical procedure to move the testicle into its correct location in the scrotum, however this procedure rarely restores fertility. It is more likely that the undescended testicle will simply be removed to prevent the possibility of testicular cancer which can be difficult to diagnose in undescended testicles.
3. Consider the risks and benefits of not having surgery if you are an older man. Testicular cancer is much more prevalent among young men between the ages of 18 and 40. Because the risks associated with anesthesia increase with age an appropriate course of treatment may be to nothing, but this is a decision that should be made after consultation with your physician.