Objectives: To determine the incidence of contralateral patent processus vaginalis discovered at laparoscopy in patients presenting with a unilateral nonpalpable testis.
Methods: From August 1997 through February 2006, 159 boys underwent laparoscopic exploration for a unilateral nonpalpable testis. The data were retrospectively reviewed to determine the incidence of contralateral patency, and the results were analyzed with respect to age at repair and side and size of the unilateral nonpalpable testis.
Results: The median age of the patients was 1.2 years (range 2 months to 16 years). The nonpalpable testis was on the left side in 100 patients (63%) and on the right side in 59 (37%). The testis was absent in 13 patients (8%), atrophic in 78 (49%), and of normal size in 68 (42%). The overall incidence of a contralateral patent processus vaginalis was 19% (30 of 159). A contralateral patent processus vaginalis was seen in 21% of the boys younger than 2 years old, 19% of boys 2 to 5 years old, and 12% of boys older than 5 years. The incidence of a contralateral patent processus vaginalis was no different for patients with right (20%) versus left (18%) nonpalpable testes. Patients with normal-size testes (34%) had a much greater rate of a contralateral patent processus vaginalis than did those with an atrophic/absent testis (8%) (P <0.001).
Conclusions: Our data suggest that the incidence of a contralateral patent processus vaginalis is considerable in patients presenting with a unilateral nonpalpable testis. This is another benefit of laparoscopy in patients with nonpalpable testes.