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J Urol. 2007 Oct;178(4 Pt 2):1718-21. Epub 2007 Aug 17.

Scrotal exploration for unilateral nonpalpable testis.

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Pediatric Urology Section, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and Children's Medical Center Dallas, Dallas, Texas 75235, USA.



We previously reported initial scrotal exploration for unilateral nonpalpable testis, followed by laparoscopy when a viable testis was not found. Although we concluded that scrotal exploration could often make laparoscopy unnecessary, the knowledge that patients with presumed nubbins would undergo laparoscopy meant that the surgeon did not have to decide whether findings were definitive. In a second series of consecutive patients laparoscopy was used only when it appeared indicated.


Boys with unilateral nonpalpable testis underwent initial scrotal exploration. Laparoscopy was only performed when neither a nubbin nor a testis was found, when there was a patent processus vaginalis and/or when gross findings suggesting a nubbin were thought inconclusive.


There were 43 patients, including 30 (70%) with monorchism and 13 (30%) with an extra-abdominal (7) or intra-abdominal (6) testis. Of 30 patients found to have monorchism laparoscopy was performed only in 7 (23%), including 2 with scrotal nubbins with a patent processus vaginalis, 1 with a questionable nubbin, 1 with a definitive nubbin but preoperative magnetic resonance imaging suggesting a testis and 3 with an empty scrotum (intra-abdominal vanished testis in 1 and inguinal nubbins in 2). The finding of monorchism was strongly predicted by a contralateral descended testicular length of 1.8 cm or greater.


Scrotal exploration is potentially definitive for the diagnosis and management of extra-abdominal testes and nubbins in patients with unilateral nonpalpable testis. Laparoscopy is only definitive when an intra-abdominal testis is found, which occurs in a minority of cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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