Use of Ultrasound in the Evaluation of Cryptorchidism: A Single-Institution Analysis

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Journal of Surgical Research


Introduction: The American Urological Association guidelines recommend against the performance of ultrasound and other imaging modalities in the evaluation of patients with cryptorchidism before expert consultation. We aimed to examine our institutional experience with cryptorchidism and measure adherence to currently available guidelines.

Methods: An institutional review board-approved retrospective review of ultrasound utilization in the evaluation of patients with cryptorchidism was performed from June 1, 2016, to June 30, 2019, at a single tertiary level pediatric hospital.

Results: We identified 1796 patients evaluated in surgical clinics for cryptorchidism. Surgical intervention was performed in 75.2% (n = 1351) of the entire cohort. Ultrasound was performed in 42% (n = 754), most of which were ordered by referring physicians (91% n = 686). Of those who received an ultrasound, surgical intervention was performed in 78% (n = 588). Those 166 patients (22%) who did not undergo surgical intervention were referred with ultrasounds suggesting inguinal testes; however, all had normal physical examinations or mildly retractile testes at the time of consultation and were discharged from the outpatient clinic. There were 597 patients referred without an ultrasound, 81% (n = 483) were confirmed to have cryptorchidism at the time of specialist physical examination and underwent definitive surgical intervention, the remainder (19%, n = 114) were discharged from the outpatient clinics.

Conclusions: Ultrasound evaluation of cryptorchidism continues despite high-quality evidence-based guidelines that recommend otherwise, as they should have little to no bearing on the surgeon's decision to operate or the type of operation. Instead, physical examination findings should guide surgical planning.



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Cryptorchidism, Genitourinary disorders, Pediatric surgery, Radiology, Urology