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Orchiectomy
En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition
Orchiectomy is a surgery to remove one or both testicles.

Male Genitalia

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

  • 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:

What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor and anesthesiologist may do the following:

  • A physical exam
  • Imaging, blood, and urine tests
  • Talk about anesthesia and the potential risks
Talk to the doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.

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.

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?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.

Post-procedure Care
At the Care Center
The staff may provide the following care to make you more comfortable and help your recovery:

  • Pain medications 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. Use ice packs as advised. Your doctor may recommend that you wear snug-fitting underwear and a jock strap for the first few days.
  • Follow incision care instructions to avoid infection.
Call Your Doctor
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:

  • 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
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.




RESOURCES:
Testicular Cancer Resource Center

Urology Care Foundation

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Canadian Cancer Society


References:
Orchiectomy surgery. St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton website. Available at: http://www.stjoes.ca/patients-visitors/patient-education/patient-education-k-o. Accessed December 31, 2014.

Testicular cancer treatments: the inguinal orchiectomy. Testicular Cancer Resource Center website. Available at: http://tcrc.acor.org/orch.html. Updated December 9, 2012. Accessed December 31, 2014.

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

Last Reviewed December 2014