In a normal male newborn, both the testes should be present in the scrotum. In 3 to 5 per cent male newborns the testis is not present in the scrotum at birth and this is called Undescended Testes or UDT. It can involve only one or both the testes. The incidence is much higher in premature and low birth weight babies.
Problems associated: Low Fertility, Testicular Cancer- relative risk 15 fold for Unilateral and 33 fold for Bilateral UDT and it usually occurs between 20 to 40 years of age. Psychological problems including parental anxiety.
Treatment: Surgery by a Paediatric Surgeon to bring the testis down into the scrotum. Usually done as a Daycare procedure under general anaesthesia and the patient is discharged the same day.
The timing of Surgery: Recommended age is 6 months if no spontaneous descent by then. Many advocate surgery as early as 3 months of age.
External genitalia examination of a male newborn at birth is the best way to diagnose this problem at the earliest so that treatment is not delayed.