What Is Cryptorchidism Or Not Sunken Testicles?

Cryptorchidism can occur in one or both testicles and appear at birth. Most cases resolve themselves in less than a year.
What is cryptorchidism or not sunken testicles?

Cryptorchidism, or non-submerged testicles, is a disorder characterized by incomplete immersion of one or both testicles through the inguinal canal into the scrotum. According to medical sources, the pathology is present when the testicle is permanently absent from the scrotum at six months of age or more.

Specialists estimate that the incidence of this condition, ie the number of patients in a given population, is 3 to 5% in newborns born at term. This percentage can increase by up to 30% in premature infants. If you want to know more about cryptorchidism and its characteristics, do not miss this article!

What can cause the testicles not to sink properly?

As indicated by professional sites such as the Mayo Clinic, the causes of cryptorchidism are still not entirely clear. The etiology of the disease can be due to both environmental factors (maternal and fetal conditions and exposure to chemicals) and genetic factors and syndromes with malformations.

Cryptorchidism is distributed as follows in infants worldwide:

  • 3 to 5% of children born at term have cryptorchidism
  • Up to 45% of premature infants are born with non-submerged testicles
  • At three months of age, this number drops to 1-2%
  • Only 1% of children have cryptorchidism after one year

In addition to all these data, we find it interesting that 10% of patients have none of the testicles sunk. In other words, most clinical cases are unilateral. In any case, we have managed to deal with a pathology associated with infants born before term.

A premature baby
Prematurity is often associated with non-submerged testicles.

Who is affected by non-submerged testicles?

This pathology is related to the time and condition of birth. The risk groups exposed to cryptorchidism are the following:

  • Children with low birth weight, ie with less than 2500 grams of body mass
  • Premature birth
  • Family history of cryptorchidism or other testicular problems
  • Fetal conditions during pregnancy that may impede development
  • Alcohol, tobacco or exposure to certain chemicals during pregnancy

Symptoms and possible complications

The only obvious symptom is the absence of one or both testicles in the scrotum. In 80% of cases, the invisible testicles are palpable, while in the remaining 20% ​​they are so retracted that they cannot be touched. Nevertheless, it should be noted that most cases are transient, and the problem resolves itself after six months.

Unfortunately, as indicated by the US National Library of Medicine, sunken testicles are less likely to develop cancer. In addition to this, an incorrect sperm temperature (due to proximity to the body) can lead to fertility problems.

What are the treatments for non-submerged testicles?

The goal of interventions in patients with cryptorchidism is to move down the testicle that was not able to sink naturally previously. According to sources already cited, patients can go different ways to address the pathology. Among them we find the following:

  • Hormone therapy: Injection of B-HCG or testosterone may cause lowering of the infant’s testicle.
  • Testicular prosthesis and saline solution: Ideal for cases where the patient loses one or both testicles completely.
  • Surgery: We will tell you more about this option below.

Surgical procedure and risk

Orchiopexia is the surgical procedure that doctors perform to lower the testicles into the scrotum. The surgeon will gently bring the testicle into place and sew it tight, thereby securing it in place. According to Stanford Children’s Health, this operation has a 98% chance of success.

Possible risks include the following:

  • damage to the spermatic cord and testicular atrophy
  • bleeding during surgery, post-op or both
  • inguinal hernia
  • bacterial infection due to the procedure
  • opening of the wound during recovery that requires a new operation


The patient must rest for 2 to 3 days after the operation and refrain from physical exercise for at least one month to protect the sutures. In addition, when the patient can remove the bandage, they must perform the hygiene process in the area of ​​the surgical wound twice a day.

The patient must follow these rules to avoid unwanted infections. The stitches used during sewing fall out by themselves, so the patient does not have to go to the doctor to have them removed.

Drink alcohol during pregnancy.
Taking toxins during pregnancy is another risk factor for cryptorchidism.

Non-sunken testicles have a solution

Whether a child is born with one or both testicles not sunken is usually not a cause for concern, as up to 99% of cases resolve on their own in less than a year. Nevertheless, in patients whose testicles do not fall down naturally, hormonal treatment or surgery are safe and excellent alternatives.

Cryptorchidism has a solution in almost all cases, whether they need surgery or not. Therefore, if you are a parent and see that your baby does not have sunken testicles, do not worry! It will almost certainly not affect his lifestyle, and he will be able to develop normally after receiving the right treatment.

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