My 4 year old son had a checkup at the pediatrician's yesterday and the doctor could not find his left testicle. He showed me and my son's scrotum appeared empty on the left. The doctor told me that he had found the testicle at a previous exam and that it likely retracted. He wants to check for it again at a follow up next month. He also told me to try to see if I can find it at home. He suggested that I take a bath with my son and feel for the testicle then because the warm water would help it drop down. What is the best way to actually check for the testicle? How do I explain this to my son?
Testicles in this age group are often normally retractile. If at every prior visit both were clearly felt, then this is a retractile testicle. I generally just have the kid come in for another visit or have the parents at least visualize the testicle in the scrotum. I've not personally had parents try to do this. Kind of weird and something I think your doctor can do, especially if one examines the abdomen and then quickly reaches down and prevents the testicle from slipping up in the inguinal canal out of the scrotum.
Again, all this supposes that the testicle has been clearly felt at every visit and was indeed there.
Good luck, Dr. Olson