This specimen shows the undescended testes.
In the early fetal period the testes are located posteriorly in the abdominal cavity. Their descent to the scrotum appears to be under hormonal control (gonadotropins and androgens). Testicular descent may be arrested at any point along its route into the scrotum: a clinically undescended testis may be in the abdomen, at the deep inguinal ring, in the inguinal canal, or between the superficial inguinal ring and the scrotum as seen in this specimen. Occasionally, the testis may lie outside its normal path of descent and is termed an ectopic testis.
Undescended testes can be associated with a higher risk of infertility. Impairment of fertility can be seen in men with both bilateral and unilateral undescended testis. Leydig cell function is not usually affected by maldescent, so androgen production usually remains within the normal range. Patients with an undescended testis are at increased risk of developing testicular tumours, particularly the seminoma. An undescended testis can usually be found by ultrasonography. Retention in the inguinal canal is often complicated by congenital hernia, because the processus vaginalis remains patent.