Why this operation?
Most cases of missing, or undescended, testis are discovered during childhood, but occasionally it may not be discovered until later in life. By this time, the testis is not functioning usefully (that means it is not producing testosterone, and not producing sperm). Because it is undescended, it may have a higher risk of cancer.
To eliminate this risk, your urologist may advise removal of the testis (often it has shrunken down to a small area of scar).
How is this operation performed?
Most cases can be performed keyhole (laparoscopically), but occasionally conversion to an open operation is needed. Under general anaesthetic, three small cuts are made in the lower abdomen to allow a camera and instruments to be passed. The blood vessels that run to the testis, or what remains of it, are identified and tied, and the testis is removed.
Dissolvable stiches are put in the skin, and these do not need to be removed.
After the operation
You will be able to go home the following day. It is usual to experience some discomfort after the operation, but this should be controlled easily with pain medications, and should get better quickly. You may experience some discomfort at your shoulder tips (due to the gas that is used during the keyhole procedure). You shouldn’t drive for a number of days, and shouldn’t lift anything heavy for 2 weeks. Nick will give you specific instructions about work; the advice will depend on what you do for a living.
What are the risks of this operation?
All procedures have the potential for side effects. Although these complications are well recognised, the majority of patients do not have problems after a procedure.
Risks of the anaesthetic need to be discussed with the anaesthetist who will be looking after you during the operation, and who will visit you beforehand.
There are specific risks with this surgical procedure, and these will be discussed with you before your procedure. As a guide to complement that one-on-one discussion with your surgeon, these include:
- Discomfort, lasting several days
- Infection of one of the incisions requiring antibiotics
- Failure to find the undescended testis
- A large bruise in the area that becomes infected, requiring a further procedure.
- Bleeding that requires another procedure.
- Damage to other organs in the abdomen, requiring a further procedure.
- Long term numbness in the lower groin and side of the scrotum from damage to nerves that run in the area of the blood vessels to the testis.
If you develop a temperature or feel unwell in yourself, contact the rooms. If out of hours, contact Calvary Hospital, or go to your nearest emergency department. Most people will have some discomfort, but this should soon improve. If the pain is worrying, ask for help.
This information is intended as an educational guide only, and is here to help you as an additional source of information, along with a consultation from your urologist. The information does not apply to all patients.
Not all potential complications are listed, and you must talk to your urologist about the complications specific to your situation.