Most boys are born with two testicles (testes) which are sitting nicely at the bottom of the scrotum, but some are not. Usually, these testicles will automatically fall into position by 6 months of age. If they have still not found their way by this stage, an operation is usually recommended to position them correctly.
Checking for the correct position of the testicles can be difficult, especially if your child is crying or not relaxed. Also, some testicles naturally fall in and out of the scrotum. This is called a retractile testis and is completely normal. Your paediatric urologist will only recommend surgery if the testis is unable to be found or unable to be brought into the scrotum altogether.
If surgery is required, it is a simple day surgery procedure via a small incision (cut) in the groin, about 2-3 cm across. Anaesthesia in children is very safe and your paediatric urologist will talk with you about this.
Hernias and hydroceles
A hernia is a weakness in the abdominal wall (tummy muscles). Some children, particularly boys but also sometimes girls, are born with a hernia in the groin region. It is recommended that these are fixed with an operation as occasionally internal organs, such as bowel, can get stuck and this can cause problems.
A hernia is usually found as a lump in the groin region. It is often more obvious when your child is distressed or cries, and it may disappear completely at times.
A hydrocele is usually a swelling or lump in the scrotum, around the testicle. It may look like the testicle is very large. It is usually painless and your child will not be bothered by it. It may not be present all of the time. Most hydroceles resolve by the age of 2 years. If it is still present after this time, an operation is recommended.
Hernia and hydrocele surgery is very similar to surgery for an undescended testicle (see above). It is a simple day surgery procedure via a small incision (cut) in the groin, about 2-3 cm across. Anaesthesia in children is very safe and your paediatric urologist will talk with you about this.