Types of undescended testicles

Undescended testicles are often classified according to their location and whether they can be felt (palpable or nonpalpable).

  • Abdominal or intra-abdominal: The testicle remains inside the abdomen and cannot be felt (is nonpalpable) during a physical exam. Often it will be located close to the inner opening of the inguinal canal.
  • Inguinal or intracanicular: The testicle stops in the inguinal canal and cannot be felt during a physical exam.
  • Prescrotal or prepubic: The testicle moves down through the inguinal canal but does not descend completely into the scrotum. It usually can be felt (is palpable) during a physical exam.
  • Ectopic: The testicle descends normally through the inguinal canal but then moves into an abnormal position in the groin area. It can be felt.

See a picture that shows the position of normal and undescended testicles.

Last Updated: May 14, 2009

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