Purpose: We compared the growth of congenital, unilaterally undescended testes following orchiopexy at age 9 months or 3 years.
Materials and methods: Patients were randomized to surgery at age 9 months (72) or 3 years (83). Testicular volume was measured by ultrasonography at ages 6, 12, 24, 39 and 48 months.
Results: Orchiopexy at age 9 months resulted in an increase in testicular volume at subsequent measurements at ages 2, 3 and 4 years compared to the volume at 6 months (p <0.001). In contrast, no significant growth was noted in the group treated at age 3 years. The improved testicular growth after early orchiopexy was also demonstrated by a gradual increase in the ratio of the previously retained testis and the scrotal testis in individual boys from 6 months to 4 years (0.68 to 0.81, p <0.001). For the late treatment group a significant decrease in this ratio was noted during the same period (0.68 to 0.56, p <0.01).
Conclusions: Surgical treatment at 9 months resulted in partial catch-up of testicular growth until at least age 4 years compared to surgery at 3 years, clearly indicating that early surgery has a beneficial effect on testicular growth. Since testicular volume is an approximate indirect measure of spermatogenic activity, this gives hope that orchiopexy at this age may improve future spermatogenesis.