A retractile testicle is a testicle that may move back and forth between the scrotum and the groin. When the retractile testicle is residing in the groin, it may be easily guided by hand into its proper position in the scrotum during a physical examination. For most boys, the problem of a retractile testicle goes away sometime before or during puberty, the time when an out-of-place testicle moves to its correct location in the scrotum and stays there permanently. About a quarter of the time, the retractile testicle stays up in the groin and is no longer movable. When this happens, the condition is called an ascending testicle
The most common symptoms of a retractile testicle condition include the following:
- The testicle may be moved by hand from the groin into the scrotum and will not immediately retreat to the groin;
- It may spontaneously appear in the scrotum and remain there for a time;
- It may spontaneously disappear again for a time.
The position of one testicle is usually independent of the position of the other one. For example, a boy may have one normal testicle and one retractile testicle. The movement of the testicle almost always occurs without pain or discomfort. Therefore, a retractile testicle is noticed only when it is no longer seen or felt in the scrotum.
A small percentage of retractile testicles can become ascending testicles. This means the once-movable testicle becomes stuck in the "up position." Contributing factors may be:
- Short spermatic cord;
- A problem with the normal path of a descending testicle;
- Scar tissue from hernia surgery.
Retractile testicles are not associated with any ill effects, aside from a greater risk of the testicle becoming an ascending testicle.