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The testicle that may move back and forth between its proper position in the bag of skin hanging behind the penis (scrotum) and the groin is called a retractile testicle. It may be easily guided by hand into the scrotum during a physical examination when the retractile testicle is residing in the groin.
Sometime before or during puberty, the problem of a retractile testicle goes away for most boys. The testicle permanently moves to its correct location down into the scrotum when this happens.
The retractile testicle may no longer be movable and instead stay up into the groin in some cases. The testicle is no longer considered a retractile testicle when this happens. An ascending testicle is the name of this condition.
Prepared by: Scientific Section
During fetal development, testicles form in the abdomen, and they gradually descend into the scrotum during the final months of development. If the testicle originally descended as it should but didn't remain in its place, it means that the boy has a retractile testicle.
A testicle becomes a retractile testicle due to an overactive muscle. The thin pouch-like muscle in which a testicle rests is the cremaster. The cremaster muscle pulls the testicle up toward the body when it contracts.
A testicle needs to be in the scrotum in order for it to mature properly. Complications associated with undescended testicles are well documented. However, complications that result from ascending and retractile testicles are less known.
Before or during puberty, a retractile testicle is likely to descend on its own. The boy's doctor will monitor any changes in the testicle's position in annual evaluations to determine if the testicle stays in the scrotum, remains retractile or has become an ascending testicle.
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