Testicles should move down from the abdomen into the scrotum before birth. Some boys are born with one or both testicles still inside the abdomen or groin. This is called undescended testicles. Orchiopexy is a surgery to lower the testicle(s) into the scrotum.
Orchiopexy is done to treat undescended testicles. The surgery may improve fertility. Persons with undescended testicles also have a higher risk of developing cancer later in life. Having the testicle in the scrotum makes it easier to check for early signs of cancer.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your child's doctor will review potential problems, like:
Your child’s doctor will do the following before the surgery:
Talk to the doctor about your child’s medications or any recent illnesses. You may be asked to have your child stop or start certain medications before surgery.
Other things to keep in mind before the procedure include:
General anesthesia will be used. It will keep your child asleep during the surgery and block pain.
Small keyhole incisions will be made in one or both sides of the groin and in the abdomen. Long, thin tools will be passed through the incisions. They will allow the doctor to view and operate inside the body. First, the testicle will be examined.
Next, a pouch will be created in the scrotum. The testicle will be pulled down into the newly created pouch. Stitches will hold the testicle in place. The stitches will dissolve on their own. All other incisions will also be closed with stitches.
In some cases, a small button will be placed on the outside of the scrotum. The button will hold the testicle down until healing occurs. The doctor removes the button by cutting the stitches a few weeks after the procedure.
A medication may be given during the surgery to help manage discomfort after the procedure. In most cases, your child can go home from the hospital on the same day as the surgery.
1 hour per testicle
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. Your child will be given medication to relieve pain or soreness during recovery.
During your child's stay, the care center staff will also take steps to reduce the chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your child's chance of infection, such as:
When your child returns home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
It is important to monitor your child's recovery. Alert your child's doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your child's doctor:
If you think your child has an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Caring for Kids—Canadian Pediatric Society
Elyas R, Guerra LA, Pike J, et al. Is staging beneficial for Fowler-Stephens orchiopexy? A systematic review. J Urol. 2010;183(5):2012-2018.
Cryptorchidism. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 27, 2013. Accessed August 9, 2013.
Orchiopexy discharge instructions. Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota website. Available at: http://www.childrensmn.org/Manuals/PFS/Surg/018757.pdf. Updated October 2013. Accessed May 13, 2014.
Last reviewed June 2015 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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