Aim: Surgical findings were studied to find an explanation for the phenomenon that some acquired undescended testes (UDT) descend spontaneously whereas others need orchiopexy. Methods: In patients with acquired UDT spontaneous descent was awaited until at least Tanner stage P2G2. Orchiopexy was performed when a stable scrotal position had not been achieved by the end of follow-up. Results: Orchiopexy was needed in 57 of 132 cases (43%). In cases requiring orchiopexy, the difference in testis volume compared to the contralateral healthy testis was significantly larger than for spontaneously descended testes. 41 (72%) undescended testes were found in the superficial inguinal pouch; 16 (28%) at the external annulus. 26 of the 41 testes in the superficial inguinal pouch position (63%) could be manipulated preoperatively into a non-stable scrotal position; 15 could only reach the scrotal entrance prior to surgery. None of the 16 testes located at the external annulus could reach a scrotal position. Inguinal exploration in most cases revealed a fibrous string or a partially open processus vaginalis. Conclusion: The mobility of acquired UDT located within the external annulus is limited. It is mainly the fibrous string and the partially open processus vaginalis that prevent normal elongation of the spermatic cord with growth. These testes are unlikely to descend spontaneously. Acquired UDT lying in the superficial inguinal pouch can often be pushed down well below the scrotal entrance. We speculate that under normal hormonal stimulation at puberty, some of these growing testes may overcome the strength of the fibrous string in the spermatic cord and descend again spontaneously.

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European Journal of Pediatric Surgery
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Brakel, J., Dohle, G., de Muinck Keizer-Schrama, S., & Hazebroek, F. (2011). Surgical findings in acquired undescended testis: An explanation for pubertal descent or non-descent?. European Journal of Pediatric Surgery, 21(6), 351–355. doi:10.1055/s-0031-1285842