Orchidopexy, also known as orchiopexy or undescended testicle repair surgery is a surgical operation usually done to correct the placement of a testicle that hasn’t dropped into the scrotum. It’s commonly done on boys who are between five and fifteen months old.
The testicles start developing in baby boys while they’re still inside their mother’s womb. Normally, the testicles drop down into the scrotum during the last few months prior to birth. However, in some cases, one or both testicles fail to descend correctly.
In most of these cases, a child’s testicles will drop down into their proper position within the scrotum within the first year of life without treatment. When the testicles don’t descend within the first year, the condition is called cryptorchidism. If your son has cryptorchidism, the doctor will likely recommend surgery to correct it.
Why Is Orchidopexy Performed?
Orchidopexy is done to correct cryptorchidism, a condition in which one or both testicles have not descended into their proper position in the scrotum. If it’s not treated, cryptorchidism can cause infertility, increase the risk of testicular cancer and cause hernias in the groin. It’s necessary to correct cryptorchidism in your child so that these risks are reduced.
Surgical options may differ for adult males whose undescended testicles were not corrected during childhood. Orchidopexy is usually the preferred choice for men who are up to or below 32years. However, a doctor may suggest total removal of undescended testicles for younger men who are at a high risk of developing cancer. Orchidopexy usually isn’t done on men over 32 years, as there is an increased risk of adverse reactions to anesthesia. If you’re in this situation, consult your doctor or a urologist to learn more about your options.
How Do I Prepare for an Orchidopexy?
Orchidopexy is performed under general anesthesia, so certain rules for eating and drinking must be followed in the hours leading up to the surgical procedure. The doctor will give your child specific instructions that they must adhere to.
While very young children may not realize that they’re going in for surgery, older children may get nervous prior to the procedure. They might feel especially anxious if you as a parent feel worried. Educate yourself about the surgical procedure so that you feel comfortable and don’t mistakenly project your anxiety onto your child.Top of Form
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What Happens During an Orchidopexy?
Orchidopexy is normally done on an outpatient basis, which means that your child can go home the same day as the procedure. However, your child may need to stay back in the hospital overnight if complications arise during the procedure. Your child should not eat or drink after midnight on the day of the surgery. On the morning of the surgical procedure, you’ll bring your child to the hospital or outpatient clinic.
Preparation for Orchidopexy involves starting intravenous access or an IV in a vein in your child’s arm or leg. Your child may feel some minor pain when the IV is inserted, but it’s over quickly. When it’s time for the procedure to start, an anesthesiologist will inject a general anesthetic into the IV line. This ensures that your child will sleep peacefully throughout the procedure.
After your child is asleep, the doctor will make a small cut into the groin. He/she will then locate the testicle and free the spermatic artery. This spermatic artery holds the testicle in the scrotum. In most cases, a testicle is unable to drop as a result of a short spermatic artery. Freeing the artery from nearby tissues ensures that it can be stretched to its full length. Next, the doctor will make another small cut in the scrotum, creating a small pouch. The doctor will then gently draw the testicle down into the scrotum and stitch it firmly in place.
Once the surgical procedure is over, the doctor will close both surgical wounds with sutures or stitches that will eventually dissolve on their own. Your child will wake up in a recovery room where staff can check and monitor their vital signs and watch for complications. You’ll probably be able to see and comfort your child while he’s in recovery. Once he’s stable, you can take them home.
Risks of an Orchidopexy
Like all surgeries, orchidopexy has the following risks:
- Excessive bleeding
- Severe pain
- Infection at the surgical incision site.
- An adverse reaction to anesthesia.
In orchidopexy, there is also a slight risk of the doctor damaging the testicles or the nearby tissues. In rare cases, the doctor may find that the undescended testicle is abnormal or that it has died due to a lack of blood supply. This often requires the doctor to remove the whole testicle. If both testicles aren’t functioning, the doctor will refer you to a hormone specialist for additional treatment.
What Happens After an Orchidopexy?
Even though this is an outpatient procedure, doctors typically recommend bed rest for at least 2 to 3 days.
As soon as your child is able to get out of bed, he should avoid strenuous activity for at least 1 month. This will give the scrotum enough time to heal. Activities that may put extra strain on the scrotum like riding a tricycle or playing on a rocking horse are discouraged.
Your child’s doctor will need to see them for regular follow-up visits to ensure that the testicle is developing and working well in the scrotum. As your child grows older, the doctor will teach them how to do a self-examination of their scrotum and testicles. This is very vital, as men with a history of undescended testicles have a slightly higher risk of testicular cancer.
Disclaimer: The information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by Surjen.com.