1991 Volume 82 Issue 7 Pages 1125-1132
During a 5-year period between April 1984 and March 1989, we were unable to palpate 62 testes (56 child patients) at the time of diagnosis. An average of 10 months later, 51 testes (48 patients) still remained impalpable preoperatively.
Of the two imaging techniques, computed tomography and ultrasonography, the former is rather superior to the latter for verifying the existence of the impalpable testis. However, careful palpation under anaesthesia results in the accurate location of the testis more often than either of those two imaging techniques. On the other hand, as an aid in management of the impalpable testis, laparoscopy offers the most useful information for use in later surgery. This is because we are able to see the spermatic vessel and the vas deferens intraabdominally, in addition to the abdominal testis.
Thirty-six patients (39 testes), whose testes remained impalpable even under anaesthesia, underwent laparoscopy. In two cases, we were unable to perform laparoscopy successfully due to failed pneumoperitoneum. However, in all the other cases, the information which could be obtained was fully utilized during subsequent management. Of a total of 37 instances, 8 testes which were abdominal or just canalicular (pendulous) could be recognized. In addition, 4 more were found to have no spermatic vessel in the visual field and a further 4 had a vessel disappearing before reaching the internal ring. In the remaining 21, we were able to detect the spermatic vessel and the vas deferens.
At 59 instances of exploratory surgery, a mere 11 testes, among 27 testes, could be fixed to the bottom of the scrotum, resulting in scrotal dimples lasting for several months in 2 cases. Another 14 testes were placed in the upper scrotal region, while 2 were left in the groin region subcutaneously for lack of any alternative site.
Among the 31 instances where the testis could not be seen macroscopically, complete absence of testis, vessel, epididymis and vas deferens was recognized in 9, and pathological evidence of cicatrical processes, which was highly suspected as being the vanishing testis, was determined in 13.