Home | About Us | Current Issue | Ahead of print | Archives | Search | Instructions | Subscription | Feedback | Editorial Board | e-Alerts | Login 
Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons
     Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons
Official journal of the Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons         
 Users Online:290 
  Print this page Email this page   Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size

Year : 2006  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 207-210

Role of laparoscopy in the management of impalpable testes

Department of Pediatric Surgery, Mafraq Hospital, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Correspondence Address:
M Amin El-Gohary
Mafraq Hospital, P.O Box 2951, Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-9261.29602

Rights and Permissions



Both diagnostic and operative laparoscopy was used in the management of 189 impalpable testes. 66 were either vanishing or atrophied, 17 were found in the inguinal canal, 19 in the groin, and 87 intra-abdominal. Four of the latter group were associated with persistent Mullerian duct syndrome and one with splenogonad fusion. Four atrophied abdominal testes were excised laparoscopically, 47 were treated with one stage laparoscopic orchidopexy and 34 with laparoscopic Fowler Stephen (FS) procedure. A good scrotal position was achieved in 63% of the one stage procedure and 69% with the two stage FS approach.

Keywords: Laparoscopy, undescended testis

How to cite this article:
El-Gohary M A. Role of laparoscopy in the management of impalpable testes. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg 2006;11:207-10

How to cite this URL:
El-Gohary M A. Role of laparoscopy in the management of impalpable testes. J Indian Assoc Pediatr Surg [serial online] 2006 [cited 2023 Mar 28];11:207-10. Available from: https://www.jiaps.com/text.asp?2006/11/4/207/29602

   Introduction Top

Approximately 20% of undescended testes are impalpable, either because they are undetected clinically or sustain vascular injury during descent. Of all the available diagnostic modalities, diagnostic laparoscopy has proven to be the only modality that provides an accurate visual diagnosis upon which further management is contemplated. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the diagnostic and therapeutics value of laparoscopy in the management of impalpable testes.

   Materials and methods Top

From November 1995 to December 2005, we used diagnostic and/or operative laparoscopy in the management of 159 children with 189 impalpable testes. Their age varied from 1-13 years (mean 3.8 years). Our protocol consisted of examination under anesthesia followed by diagnostic laparoscopy and definitive treatment. In 19 patients the testes were noted to be in the superficial inguinal pouch despite repeated clinical examination. About 17 testes were seen entering the upper part of the inguinal canal and 87 were found at a variable distance proximal to the internal ring. Of the latter group we encountered one case of splenogonada fusion, four cases with Mullerian duct remnant and eight in sub-renal position.

The epididymis was partially dissociated from the testes and looped into the inguinal canal in 13 cases and in one case it was completely dissociated [Figure - 1]. We encountered 25 vanishing, 4 atrophied abdominal and 37 atrophied scrotal testes.

Open orchidopexy was carried out in 19 patient in whom testes were found to be at superficial inguinal ring and in 10 patients with canlicular position. Excision of atrophied remnants of testes was carried out in 25 atrophied scrotal testes via inguinal incision. Histopathology did not identify scrotal tissues in 22 and in three; there were immature testicular tissues.

One stage laparoscopic-assisted orchidopexy (LAO) was performed in 40 abdominal and seven high canalicular testes. The testicular vessels are dissected free from peritoneal attachment as high as possible and the testes are brought into scrotal sac via a direct rout medial to the internal ring.

Laparoscopic Fowler Stephen procedure (FS) was performed in 34 high abdominal testes. In the first stage 2 metal clips are applied to the testicular vessels 3 cm above the testis without any testicular mobilization [Figure - 2][Figure - 3]. In the second stage (3-6 months later) the vessels are severed between the two clips and the testes are brought down on the artery to the vas with wide base of peritoneal attachment to the scrotal sac via the direct rout.

   Result Top

In a follow-up between 6 months and 5 years, we have managed to achieve a satisfactory result (good size testes in scrotal position) in 30 of the 47 (63%) in patients with one stage (LAO) and 22 of 32 (69%) of 2 stage laparoscopic (FS). A second stage open orchidopexy was carried out in 16 testes in the mid-scrotal and 11 of high scrotal position and a good scrotal position was achieved in 15; Six became atrophied and 11 were still at mid-scrotal position. The over all good result after the second stage open orchidopexy was 36 out of 47 (76%) in one stage LAO and 26 of 32 (81%) of (FS) procedure.

   Discussion Top

Laparoscopy has been established as the most reliable diagnostic modality for the management of impalpable testes.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8] It clearly demonstrates the anatomy and provides visual information upon which a definitive decision can be made.

Both internal rings can be inspected; the location and size of the testes, their blood supply and the nature, course and termination of the vas, and epididymis can be determined. All of these anatomical landmarks individually or collectively have bearing on the operative management of the impalpable testes.

All other diagnostic modalities (ultrasound, computerized tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and venography) have never attained such accuracy and are unreliable especially in the event of a negative result.[9]

19 patients after repeated clinical examination including examination under general anesthesia were found to have their testes in the superficial inguinal pouch. 11 of those were obese boys and six had emerging testes with complete hernial sac allowing the testes to pop in and out of the abdominal cavity.

Our criteria for diagnosing vanishing testes [Figure - 4] are to see the vas and vessels ending blindly at or above closed internal ring.[10] Seeing the vas alone entering the canal and ending into what looks like a nubbin of cord remnants does not diagnose absent testis. We have encountered one case in which the vas enters closed internal ring and a normal testis lying completely dissociated from the vas in the pelvis. This particular case would have been labeled as an atrophied testis, but for the diagnostic accuracy of laparoscopy. The explanation to these phenomena is related to the embryological development of the wollfian system separately from the testis with the gubernaculums attached to the epididymis rather than the testis.[11]

One stage LAO,[5],[6],[7],[8] was attempted in 47 case cases seven of which were high abdominal testes. The testicular vessels are first mobilized retro peritonealy and testes are brought down to the scrotal sac via a direct rout created by a 3 mm incision into the scrotum through which a forceps is introduced to grasp and transfer the testis into scrotum. We have achieved a good scrotal position in 63% of the cases, mid scrotal in 25% and high scrotal in 15%. The latter poor outcome was associated with testes lying high above the internal ring. For this reason, we now restrict our LAO the testes lying just above the internal ring. The key to successful outcome is to be able to bring the testis to the contra lateral internal ring with no tension. A second stage redo orchidopexy was attempted in 10 of the mid and seven high scrotal testes 6-8 months after initial laparoscopy and we managed to bring seven to a normal scrotal position. The overall good result was 34 out of 45 (75%) [Table - 1][Table - 2][Table - 3][Table - 4][Table - 5].

Laparoscopic second stage (FS)[12],[13],[14] orchidopexy was performed for high abdominal testes. In the first stage we used two clips on the testicular vessels about 3 cm from the testes (30 cases) and recently we used diathermy (4 cases). During the second stage, we sever the vessels and bring the testes with a wide mesentery through a direct route medial to the internal ring. We achieved good scrotal position in 22 cases (70%) and mid scrotal position in six (18%). We lost the testes in four (12%). Follow up between 6 months and 4 years showed that two of the mid-scrotal cases settled in a good scrotal positing, but atrophied testes were noted in three cases. Two cases are at present waiting for a second stage laparoscopic orchidopexy.

In eight of the abdominal cases the testes were found to be in sub renal position, in which the vas was seen looping in the upward direction and ending in none descended testes. The initial findings of the first case diagnosed was that of a leach of flimsy vessels entering an opened inguinal canal, which would have been labeled as an absent testis, but for the careful abdominal inspection showing the upward direction of the vas deferens.

We strongly recommend careful exploration of the abdomen tracing the vas and vessels before labeling impalpable testes as absent. Canlicular testes can be managed either by one stage (LAO) or open technique. We have used open orchidopexy in seven and LAO in 10. Testes were in mid-scrotal position in 2 of the 7 and 3 of the 10. We do recommend using the open technique in inguinal testes, as the results are comparable to the laparoscopic technique.

We prefer to wrap the testes in a Silastic sheath if we fail to bring it into a satisfactory position. This helps to identify the testis during the second exploration and helps to avoid injuring vital structures.

   Conclusion Top

Laparoscopy has proven to be the only diagnostic modality where the findings provide a clear dependable direction for the definitive management of impalpable testes. Testes of normal size and near the internal ring are preferably managed by laparoscopic one stage procedure. A laparoscopic (FS) two-stage procedure should be considered for those positioned high above the internal ring. An algorithm for management of impalpable testes is highlighted.

   References Top

1.El Gohary MA. The role of laparoscopy in the management of impalpable testis. Pediatr Surg Int 1997;12:463-5.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.O'Hali W, Anderson P, Giacomantonio M. Management of impalpable testes: Indications for abdominal exploration. J Pediatr Surg 1997;32:918-20.   Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Cortes D, Thorup JM, Lenz K, Beck BL, Nielsen OH. Laparoscopy in 100 consecutive patients with 128 impalpable testes. Br J Urol 1995;75:281-7.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Nassar HM. Laparoscopic-assisted orchidopexy: A new approach to the impalpable testis. J Pediatr Surg 1995;30:39-41.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Poenaru D, Homsy YL, Peloquin F, Andze GO. Laparoscopic management of the impalpable abdominal testis. Urology 1993;42:574-9.   Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Heiss KF, Shandling B. Laparoscopy for the impalpable testes: Experience with 53 testes. J Pediatr Surg 1992;27:175-9.   Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Wilson-Storey D, MacKinnon AE. The laparoscope and the undescended testis. J Pediatr Surg 1992;27:89-92.   Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Youngson GG, Jones PF. Management of the impalpable testis: Long-term results of the preperitoneal approach. J Pediatr Surg 1991;26:618-20.   Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Troughton AH, Waring J, Longstaff A, Goddard PR. The role of magnetic resonance imaging in the investigation of undescended testes. Clin Radiol 1990;41:178-81.   Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Stephen ET, Lawrence JM. The vanishing testis syndrome: Indication for conservative therapy. J Urol 1986;2:758-9.   Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Raifer J, Welsh CP. Testicular descent. In : Blandau JR, Bergsma D, editors. Birth defects. Original article series, Vol.13, No 2. Liss: New York; 1977.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.Yu TJ, Lai MK, Chen WF, Wan YL. Two-stage orchiopexy with laparoscopic clip ligation of the spermatic vessels in prune-belly syndrome. J Pediatr Surg 1995;30:870-2.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.Bogaert GA, Kogan BA, Mevorach RA. Therapeutic laparoscopy for intra-abdominal testes. Urology 1993;42:182-8.   Back to cited text no. 13    
14.Elder JS. Two-stage Fowler-Stephens orchiopexy in the management of intra-abdominal testes. J Urol 1992;148:1239-41.  Back to cited text no. 14    


[Figure - 1], [Figure - 2], [Figure - 3], [Figure - 4], [Figure - 5]


[Table - 1], [Table - 2], [Table - 3], [Table - 4], [Table - 5]

This article has been cited by
Kulkarni Prachi S, Bhate Jidnyasa T
Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences. 2018; 7(30): 3373
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Laparoscopic management of 128 undescended testes: Our experience
Sheikh, A. and Mirza, B. and Ahmad, S. and Ijaz, L. and Kayastha, K. and Iqbal, S.
African Journal of Paediatric Surgery. 2012; 9(2): 106-108


Print this article  Email this article
Previous article Next article


   Next article
   Previous article 
   Table of Contents
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Article in PDF (243 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Materials and me...
    Article Figures
    Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded225    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal

Contact us | Sitemap | Advertise | What's New | Copyright and Disclaimer | Privacy Notice

  2005 - Journal of Indian Association of Pediatric Surgeons | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow 

Online since 1st May '05