Objectives: To review anatomical and histological findings in 105 vanishing testes. Methods: Records of 2,509 boys with 3,064 cryptorchid testes treated at our hospital between 1969 and 1995 were reviewed. Results: 691 (23%) testes were clinically impalpable. Exploration in 691 impalpable testes revealed absent testis in 144 (21%). In 39 (27%) of the 144 absent testes, there was complete agenesis of testis along with the epididymis and vas deferens whereas 105 (73%) were associated with blind-ending cord structures - the vanishing testis. The site of blind-ending cord structures in 105 vanishing testes was intra-abdominal in 22 (21%), inguinal canal in 62 (59%), superficial inguinal ring in 19(18%) and scrotum in 2 (2%). Histological information was available in 47 vanishing testes and revealed vas, epididymis, or both in 32 (68%),fibrous/vascular tissue in 11 (23%) and testicular cords in 4 (9%). Dystrophic calcification and/or haemosiderin were present in 7 (15%). Conclusions: Our data show that the incidence of vanishing testis in boys with non-palpable testes is over twice the incidence of testicular agenesis. The most common site of blind-ending cord structures is distal to the internal inguinal ring. The finding of viable testicular tissue at the end of the attenuated cord structures in 4 of our patients, and also reported in other series, suggests that inguinal exploration should be carried out in all patients who on laparoscopy are found to have cord structures entering the internal ring.

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