There is no univoque opinion about the place of preoperative studies in nonpalpable testes. During a 6.5-year period, we operated on 296 impalpable testes in prepubertal boys. A combined inguinal-abdominal approach was used in all cases verifying the eventual abdominal testis and its exact vascular anatomy before any manipulation of the cord was undertaken. Forty-five testes (15.2%) were canalicular, 142 (48%) were abdominal, 5 (1.7%) dysge- netic and 104 (34.1 %) absent (agenesis or vanishing testis). Of the abdominal testes, 122 underwent a standard orchidopexy in dartos pouch, 11 a staged repair, 8 a Fowler-Stephens operation and 1 orchiectomy. All means of investigation for impalpable testes are either unreliable, too expensive or too invasive for routine use, and in most cases, a surgical exploration has to be performed anyway. The primary surgical approach has the most favorable cost/benefit ratio, being diagnostic and therapeutic at one time. Provided the exploration is performed correctly, all the advantages of previous laparoscopy can be achieved with surgery alone.