What is the purpose of testicular descent, and how does the process happen?

Updated: Aug 31, 2018
  • Author: Oreoluwa I Ogunyemi, MD; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

For normal development and optimal sperm production, the testis must descend from its original position near the kidney into the scrotum. Researchers propose that various mechanisms, including gubernacular traction and intra-abdominal pressure, are responsible for testicular descent; however, endocrine factors of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis also play a major role in this process.

Around the 23rd week of gestation, the testis undergoes transabdominal migration to a location near the internal inguinal ring. The testis does not migrate transinguinally to its final position until after the 28th week of gestation, and this is usually complete between the 30th and 32nd week of gestation. [4] A case report describes a necrotic testicle in a newborn that resulted from torsion at an estimated 20th week of gestation. [6]


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