Laparoscopic Cryptorchidectomy (Gelding)
Cryptorchid testicles are those that do not descend like a normal testicle into the scrotum. When the foal is developing in the uterus the testicle starts its decent from an area just behind the kidney and ends in the scrotum at or shortly after birth. The gubernaculum, the fetal structure responsible for pulling the testis into the scrotum, then turns into connective tissue ligaments in the adult stallion. In theory, a non-descended testicle can be located anywhere between the kidney and the scrotum although most are located in the inguinal canal or just inside the abdominal wall. The surgical procedure is very similar to that described for Laparoscopic Ovariectomy.
What is Laparoscopic Cryptorchidectomy?
This technique is a minimally invasive approach to remove a cryptorchid testicle. The approach is made either with the horse standing in stocks or under general anesthesia. I prefer to make the approach in the standing horse.
Why choose Laparoscopy?
In my experience the most common scenario that leads people to choose Laparoscopic Cryptorchidectomy is failure of their veterinarian to find a retained testicle during a standard approach. The laparoscope allows the surgeon a minimally invasive method to examine the internal structures associated with the testicle (e.g. vascular pedicle and ductus deferens), locate the testicle, and remove it.
Some clients prefer this approach to avoid the use of general anesthesia on their horses. If the horse is halter broke and has some ground manners this technique works nicely. If the other testicle has descended normally it is removed using a standing technique for castration.
Are there any drawbacks?
The post-operative prognosis with Laparoscopic Cryptorchidectomy is excellent.
If the testicle is not located in the abdomen (e.g. it’s in the inguinal canal) removal with the laparoscope can be challenging. If this occurs and the testicle is not easily retracted back into the abdomen, the horse is anesthetized with a short acting injectable agent and castrated in a similar fashion to a normal stallion.