Absent testes in scrotum or empty scrotum (Undescended Testes/ Cryptorchidism)

  • Absence of either testis from its normal position in scrotum is called undescended testis.
  • It is most common congenital abnormality found in male genitalia.
Undescended testis (Cryptorchidism)


  • Congenital – Undescended testis present since birth
  • Acquired – testis which has migrated up that has been previously noted to be present in scrotum
  • Location wise – Inguinal (groin), Intra-abdominal, Ectopic (not in path of normal descent)

Causes of undescended testis

  • Developmental disorder of the gonads by either environment or genetic factors.
  • Maternal smoking
  • Premature birth

Effects of undescended testes

  • Undescended testis of one side can affect the function of normally descended other testis also.
  • Impaired semen parameters
  • Impaired fertility
  • Hypogonadism (testosterone deficiency)
  • Tumors in the undescended testis


  • Surgical treatment is mainstay of management.
  • In infants and early age, surgical correction with bringing testis down into scrotum is done.
  • In adults with intra-abdominal testis, and having normal opposite testis, orchiectomy is usually considered. However if both testes are intra-abdominal, surgical correction to bring testes down into scrotum is considered.

Published by Dr Varinder Attri

MS MCh (PGI Chandigarh), Urologist and Andrologist

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