In some cases, a
testicle does not descend to the
scrotum because it is absent (anorchia or anorchidism)
or is malformed (dysgenesis). Absent or malformed testicles may be caused by a
problem with the development of the testicle during fetal growth. In some
cases, an absent testicle may be caused when the testicle shrinks (atrophies)
because of problems in development, lack of proper blood supply, or other
Absence of both testicles is very rare. Lack of both testicles poses a serious health problem for normal
development. Boys who do not have testicles must take hormone therapy when they
puberty because their bodies do not have the hormones
that are normally produced by the testicles and that are needed for normal
development. Absence of both testicles also may indicate an intersex disorder,
in which a baby develops characteristics of the opposite sex because of
abnormalities in the
endocrine system. Men who were born without both
testicles will be infertile.
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Surgery is usually needed to
distinguish an undescended testicle that cannot be felt during a physical exam
(nonpalpable) from an absent or malformed testicle. In some cases, an
undescended testicle is present but has not developed properly (dysgenesis). If
the testicle is present but is found to be malformed, most doctors recommend
removing it (orchiectomy) rather than trying to place it in the scrotum.
Primary Medical Reviewer
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Peter Anderson, MD, FRCS(C) - Pediatric Urology
April 1, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 01, 2011
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