The cremasteric reflex is a superficial reflex observed in human males.
This reflex is elicited by lightly stroking or poking the superior and medial (inner) part of the thigh - regardless of the direction of stroke. The normal response is an immediate contraction of the cremaster muscle that pulls up the testis ipsilaterally. The reflex utilizes sensory and motor fibers from two different nerves. When the inner thigh is stroked, sensory fibers of the ilioinguinal nerve are stimulated. These activate the motor fibers of the genital branch of the genitofemoral nerve which causes the cremaster muscle to contract and elevate the testis.
In boys, this reflex may be exaggerated which can occasionally lead to a misdiagnosis of cryptorchidism.
The cremasteric reflex may be absent with testicular torsion, upper and lower motor neuron disorders, as well as a spine injury of L1-L2. It can also occur if the ilioinguinal nerve has accidentally been cut during a hernia repair.