Overview of Undescended Testicle

Undescended testicle, also called cryptorchidism, is a common condition in which one of the testes (testicle, male reproductive gland) is located outside of the scrotum. During the eighth month of gestation, the testes migrate from the abdomen, through the groin, and into the pouch that contains the testes (scrotum).

An undescended testicle may be located in the abdominal cavity, in the passageway in the groin (inguinal canal), or in an ectopic location (e.g., superficial pouch in the groin, perineum, upper thigh). This condition is usually present at birth (congenital) and is associated with sterility and an increased risk for testicular cancer if not corrected.

Incidence and Prevalence of Undescended Testicle

Undescended testicle occurs in approximately 30% of premature males and 3% of full term male infants. In 80% of cases, the undescended testicle migrates into the correct position without intervention during the first year. The condition occurs in both testicles in about 10% of cases.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 10 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 07 Jun 2011