Medical Q&As

Undescended testicle - surgery necessary?

I have a 21-month-old son. His testicles have not been in the right place since birth. He has been on a hospital waiting list for over a year now even though he is covered by VHI. I would like to know if there is an age limit in which a baby’s testicles could correct themselves naturally without surgery?

Prior to birth the testicles are located inside the abdomen. During the latter stages of pregnancy they migrate down the inguinal canal and enter the scrotum. By the 36th week of gestation the majority of boys have fully descended testicles. Some baby boys may have undescended testicles at birth, which subsequently fully descend into the scrotum. However, it is unlikely that this difficulty will correct itself in the case of your son. At 21 months it is likely that his testicles will remain undescended in which case surgery is the appropriate option. I note your concern at the delay in performing the operation but this will not have any effect on the ultimate outcome for your son. His hospital stay is likely to be short since most of these cases are dealt with as day cases.