This leaflet answers some of the questions people ask about a radical orchidectomy operation. If any further questions are raised after reading this information, please speak to a member of the medical and / or nursing staff at any time during your stay in hospital.
Your doctor has informed you that you should have your testicle removed as they suspect you have testicular cancer. Statistics show that testicular cancer remains one of the most curable cancers. Extra tests such as blood tests and a scan may be organised before your admission to hospital.
What is an orchidectomy?
The operation to remove the testis is known as an orchidectomy and is performed under a general anaesthetic (you will be asleep).
The operation will involve making a small incision in your groin and your affected testicle will be removed by this route. The procedure takes about 30 minutes. It involves complete removal of the testicle on that side. The skin is then closed with stitches.
What are the potential risks and side effects?
Any operation and anaesthetic carries risks: these are generally small and not doing the operation may carry greater risk.
Risks of anaesthetic can be discussed with the anaesthetist who will be looking after you during the operation and who will normally visit you before your procedure.
Possible risks and side effects are outlined below. However, if you have any concerns please discuss them with the nursing or medical staff as it is important that you understand what is going to happen to you.
- Bruising and swelling of the scrotum
- Discomfort in the groin area
- Infection at the wound site
- Pain, infection or bleeding of the implant.
Although you will sign a consent form for this treatment, you may withdraw consent at any time after that. Please discuss this with your medical team.
What should I do before I come into hospital?
Before your radical orchidectomy, a nurse and doctor may see you in a preassessment clinic. During this assessment they will assess your suitability for the operation and the anaesthetic and ensure that you have had the relevant tests and examinations prior to your admission. Please bring a list of all medications you take when you come in for your appointment.
They will give you some instructions to follow at home before the surgery such as not having to eat or drink for six hours prior to your surgery. This is essential as the anaesthetic can make you feel sick.
What should I expect on the day of my operation?
You will be admitted on the day of your surgery having had a bath or shower that morning. You will be shown to your bed / chair when you arrive on the ward. You will see the anaesthetist to discuss any concerns you have, and you will be assessed for the type of anaesthetic required. The anaesthetist will also discuss pain relief after the procedure with you.
The nurse will provide you with an operating gown and anti-thrombus stockings (used to prevent blood clot formation). They will check that you are ready for surgery. You will then be taken by the theatre staff to the operating department.
You will be checked again by operating department staff before being given an anaesthetic and taken into the operating room.
When the surgery is completed, you will taken to the recovery room and remain there until you wake up from the anaesthetic. This may lake a little while. You will return to the ward when the operating department staff are happy with your condition.
When you wake up you may find that you have a drip (fluid given into your vein) to prevent dehydration. Your groin wound will have a simple dressing on it.
What happens during the surgery?
After the general anaesthetic is given, you may also be given an injection of antibiotic into your vein through a cannula. The testicle is then removed through an incision in your groin. You might also have biopsies taken from the other testicles, but this will be discussed with you before the procedure. If you have opted for a prosthesis, then this will be inserted through the same incision. The wound is then closed with absorbable stitches and would normally disappear within 2 to 3 weeks.
What will happen immediately after my operation?
- You may eat and drink when you are fully awake
- You will feel some discomfort but this can be controlled with simple painkillers. If you experience pain or discomfort, you must inform a nursing staff member so that they can give you appropriate painkillers.
- Your blood pressure and heart rate will be checked at regular intervals along with your groin wound.
- It usual to feel sore and tired following the operation.
How long will I be in hospital?
Usually day case but be prepared to stay overnight if required.
What happens when I am ready to go home?
- Your wound will have stitches which will dissolve (they do not need to be removed). The ward nurses will provide you with a letter for your GP. See your GP or practice nurse if you experience any redness, swelling, increased pain or discharge from the wound.
- There will be bruising in your groin and scrotum. You may find it more comfortable to wear supportive pants rather than boxer shorts.
- You can bathe or shower 48 hours after your operation but make sure that you dry the wound thoroughly by gently dabbing the area.
Some commonly asked questions
How much pain will I be in?
There will be some discomfort in your groin and scrotum. Simple painkillers such as paracetamol should control this.
When can I exercise?
You will be able to gently increase your activity in the first few days after your operation. You should avoid heavy activities such as lifting and contact sports for approximately two weeks.
When can I drive?
When you feel comfortable and able to do an emergency manoeuvre. You should check with your insurance company as well.
When can I return to work?
This will depend on your job and how you are feeling physically and emotionally after your operation. You may want to wait until further test and scan results are available and any other appointments have been made. You should ask for a sick certificate before leaving the hospital.
When can I have sex?
When you are comfortable. The removal of one testicle will not affect your sexual performance or your ability to father children as long as the remaining testicle is healthy. If you require further treatment, issues around your fertility will be discussed with you.
One of the hormones your testicle produces is Testosterone, this makes you feel male, gives you hair and beard growth, shapes your body, gives you sex drive, and helps give you and maintain erections. In a few men when a testicle is removed the remaining testicle has not got the ability to take over the production of testosterone and men to feel tired, lack of sex drive and erectile dysfunction.
Can I have an artificial testicle (prosthesis)?
Yes, we can put in a testicular prosthesis (implant), if you wish, at the same time as your testicle is removed. Sometimes it may not be appropriate to put in an implant if there has been a lot of bleeding or any difficulty during the operation (because of the increased risk of infection); in this case, a prosthesis can be implanted later in a second procedure.
Who should I contact if I have questions or worries?
You should have the contact details for the Urology Nurse Specialists team or Ansty ward in the hospital where you have had your operation. You can also contact your GP.
The role of the surgical team at UHSussex is to perform the orchidectomy and make a diagnosis. You will also be booked to have a detailed CT scan of your chest, abdomen, and pelvis.
You will also be booked to see a Consultant Oncologist who specialises in the care of testicular cancer who will explain your histology (operation results) and scan results. They will carry out all further follow up including treatment if necessary.
Will I need further treatment?
This will depend on your histology (operation) results and the results of a CT (CAT) scan which you will have.
Useful telephone numbers
The Urology Nursing Team 01444 441881 Ext. 65457
Ansty ward 01444 441881 Ext 68240/68241
Email [email protected]
Mr Coker’s secretary 01444 441881 Ext. 68043
Mr Crawford’s secretary 01444 441881 Ext. 65962
Mr Symes’ secretary 01273 696955 Ext. 67809
Mr Larner’s secretary 01273 696955 Ext. 67808
Mr Alanbuki’s secretary 01273 696955 Ext. 67810
Mr Zakikhani’s secretary 01273 696955 Ext. 67809
Mrs Ola Blach’ secretary 01444 441881 Ext. 68043
This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.
The information here is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.