Health Information

Orchiectomy

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Definition

Orchiectomy is a surgery to remove one or both testicles.

Male Genitalia
IMAGE
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Reasons for Procedure

An orchiectomy may be done to treat:

It can also be a diagnostic procedure to determine if cancer is present when a mass is found during ultrasound.

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have an orchiectomy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Nerve injury or damage to surrounding tissue or structures
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Reaction to anesthesia

Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor and anesthesiologist may do the following:

  • Examine you
  • Do imaging, blood, and urine tests
  • Discuss the anesthesia being used and the potential risks

Talk to the doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:

  • Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Blood thinners (eg, warfarin , clopidogrel )

Other things to keep in mind before the procedure:

  • Arrange for a ride home from the hospital.
  • In most cases, you will need to avoid eating and drinking for 6-8 hours before the procedure. Ask your doctor when you should stop eating and drinking.

Anesthesia

The procedure is done under general or spinal anesthesia . You will be asleep or sedated. Anesthesia will block any pain during the surgery.

Description of Procedure

You will be prepared for surgery. The genital area will be shaved and sterilized. An IV will be placed in your arm for medicines and fluids.

Once you are asleep, the doctor will make a small incision in the groin area or in the scrotum. The testicle is pulled up from the scrotal sac. The cord that connects the testicle to the scrotum is clamped and sutured. The testicle is removed. Absorbable stitches will be used to close all incision areas.

A prosthetic testicle is sometimes placed into the scrotum. This can be done at the time of the surgery or at a later date.

How Long Will It Take?

About one hour per testicle

How Much Will It Hurt?

You will not feel any pain during the procedure. The doctor will give you pain medicine when you wake up.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

The staff may provide the following care to make you more comfortable and help your recovery:

  • Pain medicines and IV fluids
  • Ice pack and other scrotal support

You will be able to leave when the anesthesia has worn off and you can walk.

During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered

There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
  • Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
  • Not allowing others to touch your incisions
At Home

When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Walking and light activity is important. Avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for a few weeks.
  • Swelling and soreness is normal. Try using ice packs or rolled towels. Take pain medicines as directed. Your doctor may recommend that you wear snug-fitting underwear and a jock strap for the first few days.
  • Keep the incision site clean and dry:
    • Clean the incision site with lukewarm water and mild soap. Do this beginning the day after the surgery.
    • Use a soft wash cloth to gently wipe the incision area.
  • Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Increasing pain, discharge, redness, or swelling at the incision site
  • Pus or odor from the incision site
  • A lot of bleeding
  • Stitches loosen or fall out
  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills

In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Revision Information

  • American Urological Association

    http://www.auanet.org/

  • Testicular Cancer Resource Center

    http://tcrc.acor.org/

  • Canadian Urological Association

    http://www.cua.org/

  • Health Canada

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php

  • Orchiectomy surgery. St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton website. Available at: http://www.stjoes.ca/media/PatientED/K-O/PD%206660%20Orchiectomy%20Surgery.pdf. Updated August 2009. Accessed August 17, 2010.

  • Testicular cancer treatments: the inguinal orchiectomy. Testicular Cancer Resource Center website. Available at: http://tcrc.acor.org/orch.html. Updated June 21, 2009. Accessed August 17, 2010.

  • 6/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.