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Testicular Fixation (Orchidopexy)

What is this procedure?

There are two reasons that this operation is done in adults, both of which are uncommon:

  1. If a twist (torsion) of the testicle has been treated and the testis still has a good blood supply, it needs to be fixed in the scrotum, along with the testis on the other side, to prevent the twist from reoccurring.
  2. If there is a history of ongoing ‘retractile testis’ in an adult. This is very rare, and most of these cases eventually resolve without treatment. Sometimes, the problem can be that bad that it interferes with lifestyle and needs treatment

How is the operation performed?

If a testicular torsion has been treated by untwisting, the testis will be fixed in the scrotum at the same time, with three small sutures.

If the reason for the operation is ongoing and problematic retractile testis, a small incision is made in the scrotum under general anaesthetic, and the muscle (called the cremaster muscle) is divided. The lining membrane of the testis is then stitched back on itself, which holds the testicle in place. Alternatively, the testis can be placed in a pouch (a ‘Dartos pouch’) under the skin. These options will be discussed with you.

Dissolvable stitches are put in the skin, which do not need to be removed.

After the operation

You will normally be able to go home the same day. Make sure someone can take you home, and stay with you for 24 hours.

Do rest at home for the first 48 hours, and don’t do anything physically demanding for this time. In fact, it is wise to wear supportive underwear and avoid strenuous lifting or activity for a week at least.

Simple painkillers should be taken for any discomfort.

Potential side effects and complications

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:

Common

  • Swelling of the scrotum lasting that may last for several days.
  • Discomfort requiring antibiotics.

Rare

  • Blood collection around the testes which resolves slowly or requires another operation to drain it.
  • Possible infection of the incision or the testis requiring antibiotics or another operation to drain the infection.

Very rare

  • Long term pain in the testicle or scrotum.
  • There are occasional reports of a repeat episode of torsion (twist) if that was the original problem.
  • It is technically possible that retraction of the testis could reoccur.

Disclaimer

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.

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  • Nick Brook Urology
    Calvary North Adelaide Hospital
    89 Strangways Tce,
    North Adelaide,
    Adelaide SA 5006
  • 08 8267 1424
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