What is orchiopexy?
Surgery to move an undescended testicle into the scrotum is called orchiopexy or orchidopexy.
Usually we perform this procedure on infants and young boys between six months and one year old. A pediatric surgeon or a specialist who treats urinary problems in children, such as a pediatric urologist, usually performs the surgery.
Sometimes orchiopexy is done on older boys. In rare cases, teens and adult men who have undescended testicles may also seek this treatment. Because they can lead to increased risk of testicular cancer, untreated undescended testicles are usually removed in adult men and teens.
Why Is It Done?
Orchiopexy will place an undescended testicle in its normal position in the scrotum. Here are some of the benefits:
Placing undescended testicles in the scrotum may help prevent infertility.
Treatment does not appear to reduce the risk of developing testicular cancer, but it makes it easier to detect and treat cancer if it develops.
Surgery can boost a boy's self-esteem. An empty or partially empty scrotum can make a boy feel bad about himself and his body, especially during the teen years.
How is orchiopexy done?
Depending on the location of the testicle, one or two small incisions are made in the scrotum, groin, or abdomen that allow the surgeon to reach the testicle and move it to the scrotum.
If undescended testicles are located high in the inguinal canal or the abdomen, we perform a minimally invasive surgery called laparoscopy to move them.
In both types of orchiopexy, general anesthesia is used.
Usually only one surgery is needed.
In some cases where the testicles are located in the abdomen, orchiopexy may require two separate operations that are done several months apart.
Sometimes an undescended testicle is surgically removed from the body and reimplanted in the scrotum. This process is called testicular autotransplantation.
What To Expect After Surgery
At Children’s Medical Center, we can perform orchiopexy either as an outpatient procedure or with a short hospital stay.
If we are treating prescrotal testicles and testicles that are low in the inguinal canal, the surgery is usually much simpler than for testicles that are higher up in the canal or in the abdomen.
Uncomplicated orchiopexy surgery can often be done on an outpatient basis. This means your son goes home the same day.
For at least 2 weeks after surgery, avoid riding bicyles, games, sports, and rough play in which there is a risk of an injury to the genitals.
The doctor will perform a follow-up exam on your son within 1 to 2 weeks, and another about 3 months after the operation.