Testes (testicles) are the male organs that generate sperm and hormones for reproduction and sexual development. Undescended testes occur when either one or both of the testes have not moved down into the scrotum. The condition affects approximately four per cent of boys at birth.
What is the treatment?
In most cases, the undescended testes will move into the scrotum by six months of age and no treatment will be needed. However, surgery (called an orchidopexy) will be required if this doesn’t occur by the time your child is six months.
Undescended testes can cause ongoing health issues if untreated.
An orchidopexy is a surgical procedure that moves the undescended testes from the groin and down into the scrotum. An incision is made in the groin and on the scrotum, and stitches are used to hold the testes in their new position. The operation is conducted under general anaesthetic as a day procedure.
How long will it take?
Your child will be admitted to hospital for one day. The operation takes about 45-90 minutes. This includes the anaesthetic, the operation and time spent in the recovery room.
What happens after the operation?
Your child’s doctor will speak to you after the operation and let you know how everything went. This will be your opportunity to ask questions. Your child should be able to go home about two hours after the operation.
Care at home
There will be a small plastic dressing covering the wound. The dressings may be left on until they fall off or until your child’s return for their outpatient appointment.
It’s important to keep the dressing as dry as possible. Infants should be given sponge baths and older children may take quick showers until the dressing is removed.
Will there be a scar?
The scars will be very small and fade in six to 12 months. The stitches will dissolve by themselves and do not need to be removed.
Do I give my child pain relief?
After surgery it is important to provide regular pain relief for your child at home to ensure they are comfortable during their recovery. Medications such as paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory drug such as Ibuprofen (Nurofen©) should be sufficient to relieve your child’s discomfort. These medications are available over the counter at pharmacies.
Your anaesthesist, surgeon, pharmacist and/or nursing staff will discuss the suitability of these medications for your child before you go home.
If your child has bleeding problems or asthma, it is recommended that you consult a doctor before you give them Ibuprofen (Nurofen©). Do NOT give Asprin to your child.
When can my child eat and drink again?
When your child wakes up, they may have clear fluids (water, cordial etc.) and light foods such as toast or a sandwich.
Most children continue with their normal diet the next day. Babies may have clear fluids to start with, then their breast milk or formula as usual.
If your child experiences nausea or vomiting when home — stop food and fluids for one hour then give sips of clear fluid, dry toast or a biscuit.
Key points to remember
- Orchidopexy is a common operation performed at the hospital.
- Your child can eat, drink and exercise when they feel well.
- Bike riding, trampolining, roller blading and painful activities should be avoided until the wounds have healed.
Your child can return to school when they feel ready.
Queensland Children’s Hospital
501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane
t: 07 3068 1111 (general enquiries)
In an emergency, always call 000.
If it’s not an emergency but you have any concerns, contact 13 Health (13 43 2584). Qualified staff will give you advice on who to talk to and how quickly you should do it. You can phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.