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My 10-month-old son has an undescended testicle, and our
pediatrician has referred us to Children's Hospital for a
consult and then for surgery when he's 1.
1) Has anyone else's son had this problem and this surgery? I
know it's not supposed to be a big deal, and it's not an
uncommon problem, etc., but I'm worried!
2) Has anyone had experience with Dr. James Betts? (I know this
is more of a Recommendations question, but while I'm asking in
general about this issue...) Our ped said she'd heard good
things about him - I can't find anything on the BPN website,
Thanks so much -
Mom of the one-ball wonder
My nephew had the same problem. He had the surgery done in Tucson AZ
where he lives and there were no lasting problems or issues.
He had a bandage on his belly and drank milk and watched TV quite a bit
the first day after the surgery. But it was back to business as usual
within a couple days. Try not to worry. This is a very routine procedure
that is commonly done these days to ensure that a child develops
normally and maintains full fertility. I have no knowledge of Dr. Betts,
but Children's Hospital has a very good reputation -Katie
You're right, it is common, but it's important to get it treated.
I have to warn you, this can possibly cause fertility probllems for your
son down the road.... the doctors will tell you that's not true, but it
can happen. It's entirely possilbe that his undescended testitcle was
caused by bacteria. There is a wonderful doctor in NY called Dr. Toth
who specializes in this sort of thing. Good lcuk!
-- Dealing with it, many years later
My son had his undescended testes janked down and secured into place at
Children's. He was big and healthy so we did it at 3 months while I was
on maternity leave. We went in at 7 and were on our way home by 11 with
him breastfeeding. He was slightly fussy the next 24 hours, relieved by
Tylenol. He has an almost invisible 2 inch scar along a normal skin
crease. He is 6 now and somewhat disappointed he doesn't have a dramatic
scar, since we've told him about his surgery. I know the pediatric
surgeons personally and all are excellant. Dr. Betts is not warm and
fuzzy, but it's what happens when your child is asleep in the OR that
Funny story- at first they thought he didn't really have one testes but
they had to explore anyway as a shriveled one is a risk for
cancer...before the ultrasound found it high up the surgeon gave me a
little talk about how if he grows up with only one, he won't even give
it a second thought or feel self- conscious. As you might guess, this
was someone who had never raised or been a teenage boy!
Two balls now on the proper court
I wanted to recommend a wonderful urologist who worked with my child for
another condition. He's amazing and was so warm and caring toward my
son. Despite the awkwardness of the situation, my kid loved him. His
name is Dr. Piser and he is located in Berkeley. His number is
848-1727. He has a good reputation. In fact, my pediatrician and
obstetrician have heard good things about him.
My son just had surgery to correct an undescended testicle. He is 11
years old. I wish he had the surgery years ago but alas he didn't.
Nonetheless, the surgery went well. It was at Children's Hospital. His
doctor was Dr. Lee who seems to be an excellent doctor. My son felt
pretty sore and on pain meds for
2 days. After that he used lower and lower doses of meds--first using
codine and then switching to motrin--for about one to two weeks. It's
been about a month and he's ready to resume normal activities.
The staff at Children's is very supportive to the kids and parents.
I can't speak to your message about your sons medical needs, but I'd
like to ease your mind about Dr. Betts.
Last year, my then 2.5 year old was diagnosed with a double ingunal
(sp?) hernia. My ped. recommended Dr. Betts because in her words, ''he
is a brilliant surgeon. The one I would choose to operate on my own
kids.'' She also mentioned his brisk and sometimes cold bedside manner.
With me, he was a little short, but with my son, he was wonderful!
Besides, I'd rather have the confident not so chatty but brilliant
surgeon rather than the other way around. You didn't ask about
Children's Hospital but I'll tell you that they are great too. Very
practiced in the process of surgery, they make the scary experience seem
less so. And one more piece of anecdotal information... I had a
serious relationship with a guy in college with an untreated undecended
testicle. There was always a question in his mind about the ease of
creating children. Even with one up and one down, he's got two very
beautiful children now that were easy to concieve!
My nephew had this and he had surgery and everything went just fine. I
understand that it is fairly routine and nothing to worry about.
Obviously, you always worry when it's your child, but my nephew is now
11 years old and has had absolutely no difficulties. I am not certain
about the doctor but trust your instincts. When you meet him if you
don't feel comfortable, wait and find someone you do. There is a lot of
trust that needs to be there and you'll know in your heart if he is the
right guy for the job.
My now 3 yr old had an undescended testicle ( and a hernia ) we ended up
doing the surgery last year.We went to childrens and dr betts did the
procedure. We had the best possible experience we could hope for!
Everyone there was amazing ,friendly and helpful. Our anathesia guy was
so fabulous ,he spent time talking to us about options . dr betts is a
pro. he is very to the point , some may say his bedside manner is a bit
short, or cold, we were fine with that because truly he loves what he
does taking care of his patients.My little one even drew pictures for
some of the staff and we brought them to them on our post op visit .
anyway I could go on for days about our wonderful experience so if you
want ,email me. It can be scary having your little one put under I know
I've been there.
My son had an undescended testicle until he was 6 or 7, and his father's
testicles still occasionally ''ascend'' if physically pushed. We never
thought surgery was necessary for either anonymous
I was the original poster of an archived question about an orchiopexy
and circ revision with Dr. Betts; I thought I'd write with the results
of our experience. First of all, we are totally confident that Dr.
Betts is the most qualified surgeon we could have found for this
procedure; his reputation is stellar and he really knows what he is
doing. In addition to having a ton of experience and working at a
really great hospital, he is a true perfectionist and will not do
anything unless it's done JUST right. The disadvantage of this is that
you may be inconvenienced in terms of schedule . . . for example, Dr.
Betts is so busy that you may have a hard time getting a good time or
date for your surgery; you may have to wait while he spends extra time
with a prior patient; you may have to reschedule if your son has any
health problems (like a cold or rash) that he sees as potential
complications. And like most surgeons, he has a slightly brusque
bedside manner. But behind all this you've got a really top-notch,
competent, and caring doctor. Similarly, Children's Hospital can be a
bit impersonal at times -- it is definitely a big hospital and not an
intimate clinic -- but they really know how to deal with kids and the
quality of care is excellent. As for the procedure itself, everything
went VERY smoothly and much easier than anticipated, Our son (18 months
at the time) played happily in the waiting room; once in the office, the
nurses gave him an oral sedative and he was instantly relaxed. He had
no anxiety when the anesthesiologists took him away. He did have a hard
time waking up, thrashing and crying for a long time in the recovery
room, but I got to hold and nurse him, and once he was alert, he was
totally fine and only needed one dose of regular Tylenol to get through
it. He was running around playing the next day. The scars are scarcely
visible now; the testicle ended up in exactly the right place, and the
circ is perfect too. Our son has not been scared of doctors since,
though he shows a lot of interest in a book we got him about the
hospital. Of course you can't shut off your anxieties about something
like this, but if there is anything else I can tell you to ease your
mind, please email me
Our son (now 32 months) had laparoscopic surgery to explore whether he
had a second testicle that was undescended since an ultrasound did not
reveal anything. Patte Bishop was our surgeon. As it turned out, the
left testis was absent. Our experience with Children's was great. The
staff were all very helpful. The anesthesia is what most people seem to
be worried about and that all went fine and on schedule. We were anxious
and nervous but he did not know any better being 16 months old.
We did have to get up very early and arranged for our older child to be
with my sister's family over night and scheduled help for the afternoon
which we did not need since we were home by 11:30am. Our son slept
peacefully after the surgery and did not seem to have any pain or
discomfort at all (we did give him Tylenol regularly for the first
couple of days). Dr. Bishop was really wonderful and I recommend her
highly if you have any reservations about Dr. Betts. Best of luck to
Our boy was two when we took him for surgery on an undescended testicle.
A doctor at UCSF performed the surgery and it went quite well.
Because we had waited until he had begun to acquire language and was a
bit more aware of the surgery, I scheduled a ''child life'' session for
us one or two days before the surgery. I know they have child life
specialists at Children's Hospital in Oakland as well, and I think it's
really helpful. Primarily it's important for parents to know what to
expect and to prepare psychologically for the event. It is imperitive
that parents present a calm, reassuring demeanor to the infant/child,
and believe me, it's not easy to watch your little one go through this.
I don't remember exact details, but your infant must go without anything
in his stomach for many hours before the surgery; the time of day for
the surgery is important to consider with this in mind. We, for
example, chose the first surgery of the day. It is also essential to be
there at the instant your child wakes up from anesthesia. In the
post-op room, we witnessed several children who woke up screaming and/or
obviously quite upset, and we felt lucky that our child eased more
slowly into consciousness. I was there instantly, scooping him up in my
arms in his favorite blankie and nursing him. He was fine and is now a
happy, healthy almost 5 year old.
If you have questions about the doctor, ask directly about his/her
experience with this specific surgery (e.g. successes vs. problems and
what kinds of problems). When I asked our doctor this, he said he had
done thousands of these surgeries and had only a handful of very
correctable problems. Good luck!
My one-year-old son is being scheduled for surgery in June to correct bilateral
undescended testicles and foreskin adhesions (caused by a ''conservative''
circumcision that now needs to be trimmed - who knew that could happen?). I
know that he is probably too young to remember his hospital experience, but he is
also too young for me to explain it to him on any level. I wonder if there is a
possibility that genital surgery at this age could affect him psychologically; I also
had urologic surgery as a child and it definitely gave me some weird ideas about my
body and about the medical establishment. And then there's the anesthesia . . . it's
hard to think about my baby being unconscious! Should I just stop worrying, or is
there something I can do to make the experience less scary (for myself and for him)?
I would love to hear about other parents' (or doctors' or psychologists') experiences
with an infant's surgery, particularly if it involves the same medical conditions (or
the same surgeon . . . Dr. Betts at Children's Hospital). Thank you for reading!
My son had surgery for an undescended testicle when he was 1.3
yrs old at Kaiser in SF. The doctor assured us he would not
remember any of it and a year later, that seems to be true. They
say long memories start forming at 2.5 to 3 yrs. It was scary to
imagine him unconcious but I knew that it just had to be done.
They allowed me to carry him into the operating room and hold
him on my lap while they put the gas mask on him. In the weeks
prior to this, they would let him play with the same mask at the
office so he would't be frightened of it. He quickly
fell ''asleep'' and they took him over to the table. That was the
only time I really choked up. However, the surgery only took
about 2 hours total and we were both there when he woke up. He
slepted on the car-ride home and was running around later that
day like nothing happened. He did get an infection in the
incisision area a couple weeks afterwards, (it's right were the
diaper goes over his waist). I think it was our fault for not
putting a bandage over it and giving him a bath too soon. I
would just wipe him down for 2 weeks and keep that area dry.
Hi, we went through the same experience with our infant son (who
is now almost 13). In fact, he ended up having to have two
surgeries -- one for each testicle. The first surgery was at
about 12 months, the second about 18 months. He has no memory
of the surgery or of even being in the hospital.
My son knows about it, because there is a tiny faded scar (from
a staple or incision?)on one of his testicles. He pointed the
scar out to me when he was around 8. We told him in practical
terms that they had brought his testicles down because they got
stuck inside, and he didn't see it as a big deal. More a point
[Bilateral descended testicles does have serious fertility
implications and other statistical correlations to hormones and
other stuff. Going on medline freaked me out at the time (he
was only a baby!). But we have not shared this with out son,
because medical stuff, esp. fertility, always evolves.]
The surgery was much harder for us as parents. We were so upset
and anxious inside; my son seemed ok. The hardest part will be
right after the surgery, when he cries out for you and seems so
vulnerable. But he will bounce right back in a couple days --
or less -- right before your eyes.
Hope this helps,
Been There And It's Fine Now
My son saw Dr. Betts for a circ revision,....he also had too
little foreskin taken off. I wasn't thrilled with the entire
procedure. First they had us waiting three hours. Apparently
the doctor was late and they didn't bother telling us. We were
told not to give him anything to eat and no liquids after a
certain time. My poor son (10 months at the time) was starving
and cranky at waiting so long and I couldn't even nurse him.
When we finally saw Dr. Betts, he never even apologized for
having us wait. He always seemed very rushed and never took
the time to discuss basic things that all the nurses assumed he
told me already (how to care for it afterwards, etc). After
the surgery my son's penis looked normal, but then two weeks
later it seemed to ''grow back over'' and I had to keep pulling
the skin back to see the tip. I was concerned about it and
called the doctor. He never returned my call and finally a
nurse tracked him down for me and left me a message saying that
dr. betts was in a rush but said very quickly to her that
it ''was normal''. Not the most confidence inspiring response
for a worried mom. He didn't even see my son!
I really was about to walk out on the surgery when dr. betts
was three hours late. The only reason I didn't was because a
pediatrician friend of mine said he was supposedly one of the
best pediatric urologists. In retrospect I would have gone
with someone else,...a less experienced doctor might have been
more thorough and more sensitive to our needs. Good luck.
At first I didn't see your original posting (I don't always read
all of them) but after reading the negative review of Dr. Betts,
I went back to find it. My son had an undescended testicle and
had surgery with Dr. Betts when he was 15 months old. I must
say that on the morning of the surgery, everything went very
smoothly. The nurses checked and double-checked. I too was
worried about how he would do without anything to eat, but it
was necessary to keep him on an empty stomach due to the effects
of anesthesia. When I voiced my concerns about his not being
able to eat, the nurses gave me ideas to keep him distracted so
he wouldn't get too cranky. The morning of the surgery, there
was so much going on, I think he forgot he was hungry.
After the surgery began, my son's case was more complicated than
expected. He had a crossed, fused, right to left sided
testicular transposition. In other words, the right testicle
was for some reason on the left side, so Dr. Betts had to free
it from the left side and bring it over to the right. Let me
emphasize that this is an extremely rare case and will probably
be published in medical journals. As soon as Dr. Betts was able
to, he left the surgery room, called us in, explained everything
to us face-to-face, and cancelled all other appointments for
that day. As the surgery continued, (It took several hours) he
kept us up-to-date through his nurse, who came down personally
to tell us what was going on. In the end the surgery was
successful and I feel blessed that we have such an expert right
here at Children's Hospital.
What should have been a simple surgery ended up being a 5-day
stay in the hospital. Dr. Betts came everyday, saw my son even
on Sunday, and always answered my questions. Betts was careful
to monitor his progress extremely carefully, taking my son step-
by-step through the recovery process. We saw Dr. Betts a few
days later, a week later, a few weeks later, a month later, then
every six months. My son is now 31/2 and sees Dr. Betts for
yearly check-ups. He is always friendly, answers all my
questions. The nurses are helpful also.
As for the psychological impact on my son, I truly think he was
too young to remember anything. Your biggest challenge may be
to manage his pain after the surgery, but the pain management
doctor may be able to give you tips on that.
I hope this helps. Dr. Betts is truly a master at what he does
and I feel so fortunate he was working on my son that day.
Does anybody know of alternatives to surgery for treating
partially descended testicles (it's sitting stuck in the
muscle at the top of the sac). The kid is just 2 year old.
Hi, I don't have specific knowledge about alternative treatment
for undescended testicles. However, I wanted to share our
experience around our son to reassure you. Ten years ago he was
born with bilateral undescended testiciles. He had surgery at 1
and 1/2 years and 2 and 1/2 years, to bring each of them down,
at Children's. The surgery was much harder on us as parents
than for him. He has no memory of the surgery at all. And,
according to the doctors at the time, the surgery enhanced the
fertility possibilities for adulthood (there's a high
infertility rate when both testes are undescended). We wish you
the best in dealing with this unexpected challenge; it will be a
memory in the years to come.
Very high malignancy rate associated with undescended testicles.
If this were my son I would go see a urologist--Joel Piser, M.D.
(Berkeley) is very good and treats both adults and children.
Please take care of this.
Please take care of this with surgery asap if you can. My
nephew was born with one undescended testicle, and his parents
decided to see if it would drop on it's own. When he was 11, he
had to have the testicle removed with surgery because it
shriveled up instead of dropping. It would have been better if
they had just had it taken care of while they could have.
Recently my husband commented that he didn't think our 11 year
old son's testicles had dropped yet. My comment was something
like ''huh?'' This is not something I've ever thought about.
He had a medical check up last Sept and our pediatrician didn't
comment or have any concern (after checking his genitals).
Since my husband commented on this I've noticed that my sons
penis and scrotum area seem very small.
He's getting to the age of being self conscious about being
naked or looked at even by me so I don't feel like I can really
check it out. Would I even really know what I'm looking for?
My question is....is there an average age when the testicles
drop? Is this something every mother should know about? What if
they haven't dropped within the realms of an average age...what
does that mean? What would one do about it?
Thanks for any info.
Please get your son's testicles examined as soon as possible. I
know a boy who had one testicle that hadn't dropped by age 10 or
11 -- over time it shrivled up and had to be removed.
My guess is that if no one (pediatrician, whoever attended his
birth) has ever mentioned to you that your sons testicles haven't
come down, then they probably have. Undescended testicles can
cause problems if they haven't dropped by about age 5, most
notably they are at a significantly increased risk for testicular
cancer. But that is why they are checked (or should be) at every
doctors visit from birth. You may just want to call your
pediatrician and ask him or her if both testicles have been felt
-- it should be noted in your sons chart.
this page was last updated: Oct 31, 2006
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