Laparoscopic classification of the impalpable testis: an update
Purpose We present a classification for the nonpalpable testis (NPT) based on laparoscopic findings and suggest guidelines for the interpretation of these findings.
Patients and methods From October 2002 to December 2010, 121 patients with NPT underwent laparoscopy at two tertiary centers of Pediatric surgery in Egypt. The lower abdomen and pelvis were inspected to identify the following structures and their inter-relationships: the internal inguinal ring (and its patency), spermatic vessels, vas deferens, and testis. The laparoscopic findings were documented by one of the authors who attended all procedures, and video recordings were available in some cases. Further management was dependent on laparoscopic findings, classification, and plan of treatment.
Results The study included 117 patients with 142 nonpalpable testes. Their mean age was 4.9 years. Among patients with unilateral NPT, a contralateral palpable undescended testicle was always associated with a viable NPT (100%), whereas a contralateral scrotal testis had an equal chance (50%) of finding a viable NPT, without a significant difference whether it was right or left sided.
Conclusion Failure of normal testicular descent leads to a spectrum of anatomical variations that can be precisely and safely defined by laparoscopy in about two-thirds of patients with nonpalpable testes. In the remaining one-third of patients, including inguinal exploration after laparoscopy can help us to exclude a missed viable inguinal testis.
Keywords: cryptorchidism, laparoscopy, testis