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Late presentation of cryptorchidism: the etiology of testicular re-ascent.

PURPOSE: We reviewed the records of 21 boys who had 23 previously documented descended testes that reascended and who underwent orchiopexy during a 2-year period.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed a 2-year experience in 103 boys (115 undescended testes) who underwent orchiopexy in 1988 and 1989.

RESULTS: In our 2-year experience 21 of the 103 boys with undescended testes had multiple recorded confirmations of testicular descent in the past. Of the boys 40% had previously been examined in the office or with general anesthesia by a pediatric urologist or pediatric surgeon for another reason, and 40% had a nurse or physician parent. Surgery was performed at ages 5 to 14 years, an average of 2 years after the initial presentation with reascent. Human chorionic gonadotropin was unsuccessful in causing testicular descent. There was no correlation with a patent processus vaginalis and no association with adhesions. The testis was located in the superficial inguinal pouch in the majority of patients, and the gubernacular attachment was in an abnormal location in all and ectopic in half of the cases.

CONCLUSIONS: Our observations confirm that the etiology of this condition is a missed diagnosis at a younger age. The testis is undescended but almost completely descended. With somatic growth the distance between the terminal portion of the gubernaculum of the apparently descended testis and the scrotum increases, making the diagnosis more obvious. The potential for this condition makes it mandatory that intrascrotal testicular location be confirmed by periodic physical examination through puberty.

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