Pediatric Surgery International

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 249–252 | Cite as

Is the retractile testis a normal, physiological variant or an anomaly that requires active treatment?

  • Day Way Goh
  • John M. Hutson
Main Topic


Conventional teaching states that the retractile testis is a normal, physiological variant that descends spontaneously by puberty and requires no active treatment. Critical review of the literature, however, suggests that this complacent view may be inappropriate. Substantial overlap exists between the three seemingly separate entities of the late descending, the ascending and the retractile testes. This overlapping group probably accounts for the recently observed increased incidence of orchidopexies. Retractile testes that spend most of the time in an extrascrotal position are subject to the same adverse effects of higher temperatures as “true” undescended testes, regardless of whether they can be manipulated into the scrotum; what matters is where they actually reside most of the time. The evidence suggests that such retractile testes suffer similar pathological changes to “true” undescended testes if left to await spontaneous descent. Evidence is presented to support a radical, novel proposal that the retractile testis is a variant of the spectrum of pathological maldescended testes and requires active treatment. A new strategy is proposed for the management of this common pathology.

Key words

Retractile testis pathological, active treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Day Way Goh
    • 1
  • John M. Hutson
    • 1
  1. 1.Surgical Research Unit, Department of General SurgeryRoyal Children's HospitalParkvilleAustralia

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