If your son has a testicle not located in the scrotum, his doctor will determine its location in the groin. Once it's located, the doctor will attempt to guide it gently into its proper position in the scrotum.
Your son may be lying down, sitting or standing during this examination. If your son is a toddler, the doctor may have him sit with the soles of his feet touching and knees to the side. Older boys may be asked to squat. These positions make it easier to find and manipulate the testicle. In addition, it's important that this exam is done in a warm location and that the doctor has warm hands, because cold can stimulate the cremaster reflex.
If the testicle is a retractile testicle, it will move relatively easily and painlessly. The retractile testicle won't immediately move up again. Your son's doctor can then stimulate the reflex of the cremaster muscle by gently rubbing the upper inside of the thigh. This stimulation will usually cause the retractile testicle to move up again.
If the testicle in the groin moves only part way into the scrotum, if the movement causes pain or discomfort, or if the testicle immediately retreats to its original location, it's most likely not a retractile testicle. The testicle would be considered undescended or ascending (if the testicle had been in the scrotum at one time).
X-rays, ultrasound and MRI are not generally helpful in determining whether testes are retractile or not.
Oct. 03, 2012
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Cryptorchidism (undescended testes). Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2009.
- Cooper CS, et al. Undescended testes (cryptorchidism) in children and adolescents. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Keys C and Heloury Y. Retractile testes: A review of the current literature. Journal of Pediatric Urology. 2012;8:2.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/...=978-1-4377-0755-7&sid=1344526854&uniqId=352342035-4#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0755-7..00539-X--s0010. Accessed Aug. 20, 2012.
- Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/...n=978-1-4160-6911-9&sid=1344526854&uniqId=352342035-3#4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6911-9..00132-8--s0050. Accessed. Aug. 20, 2012.
- Agarwal PK, et al. Retractile testis — Is it really a normal variant? Journal of Urology. 2006;175:1496.
- Kramer SA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 23, 2012.
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