Occasionally, orchidectomy is performed for reason other than testis cancer. Removal of both testes is an option for patients with advanced prostate cancer, if they wish t avoid regular injection treatments to lower testosterone. Very occasionally, the testis is removed for other reasons such as chronic infection or pain, but these are rare reasons, and need very careful consideration of other options.
How is orchiectomy performed?
This operation is performed under general anaesthetic. The testis and its cord can be removed through an incision in the groin, or through an incision in the scrotum. The approach used will depend on the reason for removal, and will be discussed with you before surgery. The procedure usually takes about half an hour.
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 same 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 shouldn’t drive for a number of days, and shouldn’t lift anything heavy for 4-6 weeks. Your urologist 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
- Bleeding that requires a further minor procedure
- Infection of the incision requiring antibiotics
- A large bruise in the area that becomes infected, requiring a further procedure
- Long term numbness in the lower groin and side of the scrotum from damage to the ilio-inguinal nerve.
If you have painful swelling of the scrotum or the incision, or 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 swelling and bruising, but if this is worrying do ask for help. Likewise, some discomfort is usual. This discomfort will 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.