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J Urol. 2007 Oct;178(4 Pt 2):1722-4; discussion 1724-5. Epub 2007 Aug 17.

Incidence of testicular ascent in boys with retractile testes.

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Division of Pediatric Urology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-9820, USA.



The incidence of testicular ascent of a previously descended but retractile testis is reported to be between 2% and 45%. It has been our bias that only a small percent of retractile testes ascend and ultimately require orchiopexy.


We performed a retrospective review of all retractile testes diagnosed by any of 4 pediatric urologists at our institution from 1996 to 2005. A retractile testis was defined as one that could be brought to at least the mid scrotum without tension despite a history of maldescent or a retractile nature. Patients were excluded if followup was less than 6 months or they had a history of ipsilateral inguinal surgery. A followup telephone survey was done in patients not reexamined at resolution.


A total of 172 patients met our inclusion criteria and were followed to resolution. A total of 274 retractile testes were initially identified, including 26% unilateral and 74% bilateral testes. A total of 19 testes ascended and ultimately required orchiopexy within a followup of 6 to 101 months. A patent processus vaginalis was identified in 13 cases (68%). Another 235 patients initially seen with a diagnosis of retractile testis who had no followup examination at our institution were contacted via telephone. This set of boys initially had a total of 392 involved testes, of which 2 underwent orchiopexy elsewhere before resolution. The incidence of secondary ascent was 3.2% in the combined set of patients.


Retractile testes can ascend and, therefore, they require followup until resolution. In our experience most retractile testes do not require surgery.

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