Cryptorchidism: a morphological study of 670 biopsies.Helv Paediatr Acta. 1987 Oct; 42(2-3):145-58.HP
Among a series of 512 boys with an empty scrotum, 495 (96.7%) were found to have cryptorchidism, 4 had ectopia and 13 unilateral anorchia. Cryptorchidism was bilateral in 106 boys (21.4%). The only anomaly consistently associated with cryptorchidism was a detached epididymis, present in 31 patients. A total of 670 biopsies were studied, 441 of which came from cryptorchid and 229 from scrotal testes. Spermatogonial counts, performed according to Mancini's method, showed the germ cell population to be diminished in nearly all cryptorchid testes. The seven boys who still had a well preserved germ cell population were found in a group of 51 patients operated before age three; four of the seven boys with normal counts were below age one. No difference in the mean spermatogonial counts was found between uni- und bilateral cryptorchidism and ectopia, with the exception of bilaterally intraabdominal testes whose spermatogonial cell loss was particularly severe. Mean counts remained constant during childhood, no gradual increase with age having been observed. The scrotal testes in unilateral cryptorchidism showed cell loss in 30.1% of the cases, the germ cell depletion being severe in one out of every six cases. In the remaining scrotal testes, the counts were in the low normal range with a significantly lower mean than that found in scrotal testes associated with anorchia. Control biopsies were performed several months or years after orchidopexy in 18 boys with unilateral and in 24 boys with bilateral cryptorchidism. Orchidopexy does not improve the number of germ cells in either originally cryptorchid or in scrotal testes, the only postoperative change being an increase in tubular diameter. A search for malignant tumours which could have developed in this series has remained negative. According to our data, no optimal time for orchidopexy can be proposed. The damage to germ cells, once established, seems to remain unchanged during childhood at least after age three, and does not warrant special timing for operative correction of cryptorchidism.