Undescended testicles

James's story

When he was two years old, James Addison had two operations to reposition his undescended testicles, says his mother, Laura.

"When James was born, both of his testicles were down. But at the nine-month check, our health visitor noticed that his testicles weren’t in the scrotum. I was terrified. We hadn't noticed, which made me feel terrible. 

"It was very confusing, because at birth, they were there. We hadn't realised that testicles could move in this way. Our GP examined James, but couldn't find his testicles, so he referred us to a consultant.

"When the consultant examined James and palpated (felt) the area, he could feel James's testicles just above his penis. James was given an ultrasound so that the consultant could see their exact position. We were told that if his testicles hadn't appeared by the time he was 24 months old, they would perform surgery.

"The first operation was just after James’s second birthday. It was done as day surgery. Because James was the youngest patient that day, he was first on the list. He’d had a cannula (a small tube) inserted. When they put in a spinal block (anaesthetic), he became unconscious very quickly.

"The operation took less than an hour. The doctors did one testicle at a time. This was partly because James was young, but also because if both testicles were operated at the same time and one became infected, the infection could spread to the other testicle.

"After the operation, James was very sleepy and took ages to wake up. He had to eat and drink, and show that he could pass urine before he could go home. As soon as he did that, we were allowed to leave. He had the operation around 9am. We left the hospital at 1pm, so it was pretty fast.

"We gave him Calpol for a few days, but he was running around the next day. I thought he would be in pain, but he didn’t seem to be affected. 

"In fact, it bothered him so little that when he had the second operation on his other testicle six months later, we didn't give him too much pain relief afterwards.

"We're not sure what the final outcome will be. James's testicles haven’t properly descended yet. One is moving around a lot. We know that it's in his scrotum sometimes, when he’s having a warm bath, for example. We haven't yet seen the other testicle, but hopefully it will come down and stay down at some point soon. We've been told that it's unlikely he will have two fully working testicles. We'll just have to wait and see."

Page last reviewed: 10/09/2015
Next review due: 01/09/2018