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A retractile testicle is a condition in which one or both testicles are not located in the base of the scrotum as expected. A retractile testicle moves back and forth between the scrotum and the groin. When the testicle is in the groin, it can be easily moved down into the scrotum during a physical exam.
The cremaster muscle is a muscle in the groin that pulls the testicles up closer to the body. It then relaxes to release the testicles back into the scrotum. This movement is a normal reflex. However, a child can develop retractile testicles if the testicles do not move back down into the scrotum. This condition is also known as an undescended testicles.
A retractile testicle can occur any time before puberty. Risk factors for a retractile testicle include family history and prematurity.
A child may have a retractile testicle if the testicle does not sit within the scrotum all the time. Instead, the testicle moves back and forth between the scrotum and groin.
Most of the time, a physical exam is all that is needed to diagnose a retractile testicle. A scrotal ultrasound may be performed but is usually not necessary to evaluate and diagnose a retractile testicle.
Treatment for a retractile testicle is usually not needed. At Children's Hospital Colorado, we prefer to evaluate your child periodically to ensure that his testicle is in the scrotum. Your child's primary care doctor will also evaluate your child's during regular wellness exams.
Treatment may be needed if a retractile testicle becomes an undescended testicle. The treatment for an undescended testicle is a surgery called orchiopexy.
During this procedure, a small incision is made in the groin so the surgeon can locate the testicle. A second incision is then made at the base of the scrotum where the testicle is placed, which helps prevent it from twisting or moving upward.
Within the Department of Pediatric Urology, our experts have extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of retractile testicles. We understand that this can be a very sensitive topic for parents and families, which is why we work with the family to ensure the best course is taken for every child.
If your child does need treatment for his retractile testicle, our urology surgeons offer exceptional outcomes and expert pediatric care.
Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner