Ectopic testicle

An ectopic testicle descends normally through the inguinal canal but then moves into an abnormal position in the groin area.

Locations for ectopic testicles include:

  • The superficial inguinal pouch, which is a small pocket under the skin of the groin just below the inguinal canal. This is the most common location for an ectopic testicle.
  • The femoral canal (the inner portion of the thigh near the groin).
  • The perineum (below the scrotum).
  • The suprapubic region (above the penis).
  • In the scrotum on the opposite side (contralateral). This is the least common type.

Ectopic testicles are likely related to abnormalities of the gubernaculum, which is a fibrous, cord-like membrane that runs through the inguinal canal from the abdomen to the scrotum. The gubernaculum helps to guide the descent of the testicles and has branches that attach to these other locations. Ectopic testicles usually will not descend into the normal position in the scrotum on their own.

Most ectopic testicles can be felt (are palpable) during a physical exam by a doctor. However, surgery may also be required to distinguish between an ectopic testicle and a true undescended testicle.

Doctors recommend surgical treatment to place an ectopic testicle in its normal position any time after about age 6 months but no later than 2 years of age.

Last Updated: May 14, 2009

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