Undescended testicle

Picture of types and positions of undescended testicles

Normally the testicles, which form inside the abdomen of a male fetus, descend into the sac beneath the penis (scrotum) by the time the baby is born.

An undescended testicle (cryptorchidism) is one that remains inside the body and has not moved down into the scrotum. One or both testicles may be affected.

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

  • Abdominal: The testicle remains inside the abdomen and cannot be felt (is nonpalpable) during a physical exam. It is usually near the inner opening of the inguinal canal.
  • Inguinal: The testicle stops in the inguinal canal and usually cannot be felt during a physical exam.
  • Prescrotal or prepubic: The testicle moves farther down the inguinal canal but does not descend all the way into the scrotum. It usually can be felt (is palpable) during a physical exam.

Last Updated: May 14, 2009

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Peter Anderson, MD, FRCS(C) - Pediatric Urology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.