Sometimes baby boys are born with one or both testicles inside the abdomen or groin, rather than in the scrotum. This is called undescended testicles. Orchiopexy is a surgery to lower the testicles into the scrotum. The scrotum is the external sac that holds the testicles.
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The procedure is used to treat undescended testicles that do not move down on their own.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your child's doctor will review potential problems, like:
Your child’s doctor and anesthesiologist will do the following:
Talk to the doctor about your child’s medications or any recent illnesses. You may be asked to have your child stop or start certain medications before surgery.
Other things to keep in mind before the procedure include:
General anesthesia will be used. Your child will be asleep during the surgery.
After your child is asleep, the doctor will make a small incision in one or both sides of the groin. The testicle is located and examined. If there is a hernia present, the doctor will also repair this.
Next, the doctor will create a pouch in the scrotum. The testicle will be pulled down into this new pouch. Stitches will hold the testicles in place. The stitches will dissolve on their own. All other incisions will be closed with stitches.
In some cases, a small button will be placed on the outside of the scrotum and secured with a suture. This will hold the testicle down until healing occurs. The button will be removed by cutting the suture a few weeks after the procedure.
In most cases, your child can go home on the same day as the surgery.
One hour per testicle
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. Your child will be given medication to relieve pain or soreness during recovery.
During your child's stay, the care center staff will also take steps to reduce the chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your child's chance of infection, such as:
When your child returns home, you may need to do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
It is important to monitor your child's recovery. Alert your child's doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your child's doctor:
If you think your child has an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Caring for Kids—Canadian Pediatric Society
Elyas R, Guerra LA, Pike J, et al. Is staging beneficial for Fowler-Stephens orchiopexy? A systematic review. J Urol. 2010;183(5):2012-2018.
Orchiopexy: Surgery for undescended testicles. About Kids Health website. Available at: http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/HealthAZ/TestsAndTreatments/Procedures/Pages/Orchidopexy-Surgery-for-Undescended-Testicles.aspx. Updated November 10, 2009. Accessed July 23, 2013.
Orchiopexy discharge instructions. Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota website. Available at: http://www.childrensmn.org/Manuals/PFS/Surg/018757.pdf. Updated March 2009. Accessed July 23, 2013.
Undescended testicles. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at: http://www.chop.edu/treatments/surgery-undescended-testicles-orchiopexy#.VZBqk010xMs. Updated November 2008. Accessed July 23, 2013.
Last reviewed June 2015 by Adrienne Carmack, MDLast Updated: 5/28/2014