Imaging use and cryptorchidism: determinants of practice patterns

J Urol. 2011 May;185(5):1882-7. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2010.12.065. Epub 2011 Mar 21.


Purpose: We determined the rate of diagnostic imaging use for the preoperative evaluation of boys with cryptorchidism and the factors that influence referring providers to obtain imaging.

Materials and methods: We conducted a national cross-sectional survey of pediatricians randomly sampled from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile. The primary outcome was whether the respondent obtained imaging at the initial evaluation of boys with cryptorchidism. Participants were queried regarding practice location and type, length of time in practice, frequency of reading academic journals and the accessibility of surgical subspecialists. For those who ordered imaging, respondents were asked how frequently they ordered imaging, and were asked to select patient factors and professional beliefs that influenced their decision to obtain imaging. Factors associated with imaging use were identified using multivariate logistic regression.

Results: Of the pediatricians who acknowledged contact by surveyors 47% completed the survey and 34% of respondents reported always or usually ordering imaging. Of those who obtained imaging 96.4% used ultrasound. Pediatricians in practice fewer than 20 years (OR 3.43, 95% CI 1.92-6.16) and those in nonacademic practices (OR 3.00, 95% CI 1.34-6.71) were more likely to order imaging. Pediatricians obtained imaging because of beliefs that imaging reliably identifies a nonpalpable testis, reassures the family and assists the surgeon with operative planning.

Conclusions: Ultrasound is heavily used by pediatricians for the preoperative evaluation of cryptorchidism, especially when the testis is nonpalpable. Given the poor diagnostic performance of ultrasound in this setting, we recommend developing strategies to reduce imaging use in cryptorchidism.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cryptorchidism / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cryptorchidism / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultrasonography
  • United States / epidemiology