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Study Underlines Importance of Treating Undescended Testes in Infants

Dr. Alan Sadah

Practicing with Metro Chicago Surgical Oncology, LLC, Dr. Alan Sadah is a well established physician who focuses on urology. Active with the American Urological Association, Dr. Alan Sadah stays informed on the latest developments in his field.

A major Australian study published in The Lancet drew attention to the health risks associated with undescended testes. In the same way as ovaries develop in the abdomen of female fetuses, testes develop in the male abdomen. Between 26 and 34 weeks into the pregnancy, the testes descend into the scrotum.
Approximately three percent of male infants delivered at full-term experience the condition cryptorchidism, in which the testes have not descended. Among premature infants this number is significantly higher. In most cases, the testes descend on their own within the first six months of life. In situations where this does not occur, a relatively common surgical procedure is performed to correct the condition.
Looking back at data spanning four decades, the University of Sydney study found that boys with undescended testes were at higher risk of testicular cancer (2.4 times) and infertility (2.2 times). In cases where the procedure was delayed beyond the 18 month time frame recommended, the risk was elevated even further, by between 5 and 6 percent for each additional 6 months.

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