Undescended testicles in newborns
Normally, the testes form in utero and then gradually drop into the scrotum, which is the small pouch of skin behind the penis. In some cases, this does not occur before birth, causing cryptorchidism. This condition is more likely to occur in babies who are small for their gestational age, born prematurely, diagnosed with congenital malformation syndromes (Down syndrome, Preder-Willi syndrome, Noonan syndrome), have a family history of genital conditions, or were born to a mother who smoked or drank alcohol during pregnancy.
Undescended testes are usually discovered during a baby's first physical exam shortly after birth. Part of this physical exam is for the physician to feel the scrotum to check for both testicles. If the testicle(s) cannot be felt, the assumption is that this is due to cryptorchidism.
Frequently, undescended testicles are located in the inguinal canal (just above the scrotum) but are not low enough to feel. Less often, the undescended testicle is in the abdomen or absent entirely.
Bilateral undescended testicles
In less than 10 percent of all cases of cryptorchidism, both testes fail to drop into place, leading to bilateral undescended testicles.
Undescended testicles in babies: Symptoms
The main sign of an undescended testicle is not seeing or feeling it in the scrotum of a newborn boy.