Undescended testes: an update

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This article summarizes the latest evidence on the risk factors, management and outcomes of undescended testes (UDTs).

Recent findings

UDTs remain common, with increasing evidence that acquired UDT or the ascending testis syndrome should be considered part of the spectrum of this disease. Prompt diagnosis and early referral for surgical evaluation and treatment would seem most likely to result in an optimal functional and cosmetic outcome. Hormonal treatment, rather than orchidopexy, remains popular in some centers, despite a lack of good evidence to support its efficacy, although it may have an important adjunct role in optimizing fertility. Although often performed, ultrasound does not generally assist in the diagnosis and management of UDT, with enhanced education of primary care physicians more likely to facilitate early referral. The testis, rather than quiescent, appears biologically active in the male infant, with increasing evidence of an adverse impact on future spermatogenesis and fertility in men with a UDT.

Summary

Male infants with a UDT should be diagnosed and referred early for surgical evaluation. It seems likely that the optimal timing for surgery should be before the boy's first birthday. There remains a need for high-quality, long-term outcomes data to guide optimal management.

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