Laparoscopy and the impalpable testes: diagnosis, treatment options and the literature

Fayaz Ahmad Najar, Peer Hilal Ahmad Makhdoomi, Tajamul Rashid, Suhail Nazir Bhat


Background: Laparoscopy is the best available tool and method to manage impalpable undescended testes; management of the impalpable testis often pose a significant diagnostic and therapeutic challenge to a surgeon. The aim of this work was to elucidate and present the sensitivity and the value of laparoscopy, as a surgeon’s tool, for the diagnosis and treatment of the impalpable testis.

Methods: From November 2015 to December 2018, 56 patients with 60 impalpable testes were operated upon by laparoscopic approach by a single surgeon. One-stage Fowler-Stephens laparoscopic orchidopexy was performed in 14 cases, while two-stage Fowler-Stephens laparoscopic orchidopexy was performed in 16 cases and Vessel-Intact Laparoscopic Orchidopexy (VILO) was done in 22 cases. In 2 cases vessel and vas was entering through deep ring and inguinal orchidopexy was done. Blind ending vessel/vas was noticed in 4 cases (vanishing/absent testes). Laparoscopic orchidectomy was required in 2 patients for nubin. No case of disorder of sexual dysfunction was (DSD) was found.

Results: Laparoscopy was successfully completed in all the cases. 34 testicles were impalpable on right side, 18 on left side and other 4 cases (8 testicles) were bilaterally impalpable. Laparoscopic orchidopexy was carried out for 36 testes at the same. 16 needed a staged procedure. Orchidectomy was done in 2 cases/testes. In 4 cases testes was absent/vanishing. In 2 cases testes was canalicular, standard inguinal orchidopexy was done. The mean operative time was 48 minutes. Patients were allowed oral fluids 6 hours of the operation and were discharged at one day after the procedure.  None of the patients had wound infection. Patients were followed up for a mean period of 12 months. At follow-up, all but one of the testes were well down in the bottom of the scrotum. In one patient, the testis was in a high scrotal position. All testes were of normal size, no atrophy was seen so far and no malignant change is suspected in any case so far. No severe morbidity or death was observed in our study.

Conclusions: Laparoscopy offers surgeons a safe and reliable diagnostic and therapeutic option to patients with impalpable testes. No other imaging investigation is required, if well versed with basic laparoscopy. Intra-abdominal dissection allows more testes to be brought down to the scrotum. Even when open orchidopexy is being done for intra-canalicular testes in a child, it is advisable to be ready with laparoscopy if necessary, at the same time, in case open surgery fails to mobilize the testicular vessels adequately. The procedure is best viewed as laparoscopy-assisted; as Orchidopexy has to be done in a conventional manner.


Laparoscopy, Orchidopexy, Undescended testes

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