Removal of a testicle for tumour is the first step in management of testicular cancer. Most often, a tumour can be diagnosed by ultrasound scan, and the next stage is to remove the testis. In many, this may be the only treatment that is required. The testis is sent for pathological examination, which tells your urologist what type of tumour it is. There are other factors that are examined, and along with a CT scan, these decide if further treatment is needed.
How is orchiectomy performed?
This operation is performed under general anaesthetic. The testis and its cord need to be removed, so the incision is made in the groin, which will be approximately the size of the testis.
The procedure usually takes about half an hour. If you have decided that you want a testicular prosthesis put in at the same time, this will add another 30 minutes to the operation.
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.