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failure of one or both of the testes to descend into the scrotum. As the unborn male child develops, the testes first appear in the abdomen at about the level of the kidneys. They develop at this site, and in approximately the seventh month of fetal life start to descend to the upper part of the groin. From there they move into the inguinal canal and then, normally, into the scrotum. In its descent, a testis may sometimes be halted in the abdomen or within the canal, becoming an undescended testis. An improperly developed testis may never leave the abdomen, and it may not produce the hormones that induce secondary sex characters. A testis lodged in the canal may well produce these secondary sex characters, but cannot produce spermatozoa. Cases in which both testes fail to descend are uncommon; usually only one is involved and the other produces sufficient numbers of spermatozoa.
Treatment. Often the undescended testis can be brought down into the scrotum by medical treatment with the gonadotropic hormone, and for physical and psychologic reasons this method is preferred. Frequently, however, surgery (called orchiopexy) is required. This operation is not particularly serious and is usually successful. It is best performed before the patient is 5 to 7 years old, since operating at a later age may involve more risk to the cells that produce spermatozoa.
 In cryptorchidism, the testis is not in the scrotum, but may be found in the inguinal canal or in the abdominal cavity. From Damjanov, 2000.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


Failure of one or both testes to descend.
Synonym(s): cryptorchism
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


(krĭp-tôr′kĭ-dĭz′əm) also


A developmental defect marked by the failure of the testes to descend into the scrotum.

crypt·or′chid n.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Undescended testicles A condition in which one or both testicles fail to move from the abdomen, where they develop before birth, into the scrotum; cryptorchidism uncorrected in early childhood is linked to azoospermia and ↑ testicular CA. Cf Anorchia.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Failure of one or both testes to descend.
Synonym(s): cryptorchidism.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


Cryptorchism, undescended testicle. The testicles develop in the abdomen and a testicle that fails to descend before puberty remains permanently sterile. Such a testicle is also liable to develop cancer.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


Occurs when a boy is born with one or both testicles in the lower abdomen rather than the scrotum. Known also as undescended testicles, it is the primary risk factor for testicular cancer.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
As an infant, he had a history of a right inguinal hernia and a left undescended testicle. At 1 year of age, he underwent right inguinal hernia repair and left orchiectomy.
As a result, Donohue says, "we have not felt any great urgency to detect [their] presence." Moreover, he notes, because no more than 1 in 20 survivors of testicular cancer will ever develop a second malignancy, "we have not felt that this risk factor was sufficient to justify a biopsy in every case." Exceptions to this rule are patients believed to be at especially high risk, such as those born with one or more undescended testicles or those with a history of infertility.
The new research has shown that women who took a combination of more than one mild analgesic during pregnancy, or who took the painkillers during the second trimester of pregnancy, had an increased risk of giving birth to sons with undescended testicles (cryptorchidism).
They were also much more likely to have genital defects, including undescended testicles, a "small and indistinct" scrotum and smaller penis.
In recent decades reproductive and developmental problems have become more prevalent--for example, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that male reproductive problems, including undescended testicles and hypospadias, doubled between 1970 and 1993.
One is that you have true undescended testicles. The other is that you have normal testicles that just ride high in the scrotum.
Another worrisome trend is the apparent increase in the incidence of undescended testicles in newborn males - a condition known as cryptorchidism.
There is a higher frequency of undescended testicles in boys born to DES
The number of babies with undescended testicles has nearly doubled in the last half century.
RECENT work has shown that if undescended testicles are corrected before a boy is ten years old, his risk of developing testicular cancer drops back to the average level of one in 450.
In addition to a family-link, undescended testicles in adolescence also increase the chances of a tumour.
Retracted testicles (normal) shouldn't be confused with undescended testicles (abnormal).