What is testicle removal?
Testicle removal is surgery to remove one or both of a man's testicles. The testicles are part of the male reproductive system. They make sperm and the male hormone testosterone. They are in the scrotum, which is the sac of loose skin below the penis.
When is it used?
One or both testicles may be removed to treat cancer or other problems with your testicles. They may also be removed if you have cancer in your prostate gland and the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. Prostate cancer cells need testosterone to grow. Removing both testicles can lower the amount of this hormone in your body. When there is less testosterone in your body, prostate cancer may grow more slowly, stop growing, or shrink for months to a few years. If the cancer has spread to your bones, the cancer will shrink there also after surgery and cause less pain.
Rare reasons for removing the testicles include severe infection of a testicle, a birth defect called torsion that cuts off blood flow to the testicles, or an undescended testicle that cannot be brought down to the scrotum.
Ask your healthcare provider about your choices for treatment and the risks.
How do I prepare for this procedure?
- If both testicles are removed, you will be sterile and unable to have children after the procedure. Your provider may recommend that you put some sperm in a sperm bank before the procedure. The sperm might then be used later if you want to have children.
- Make plans for your care and recovery after you have the procedure. Find someone to give you a ride home after the procedure. Allow for time to rest and try to find other people to help with your day-to-day tasks while you recover.
- Follow your provider's instructions about not smoking before and after the procedure. Smokers may have more breathing problems during the procedure and heal more slowly. It is best to quit 6 to 8 weeks before surgery.
- Tell your provider if you have any food or medicine allergies.
- You may or may not need to take your regular medicines the day of the procedure. Some medicines (like aspirin) may increase your risk of bleeding during or after the procedure. Tell your healthcare provider about all medicines and supplements that you take. Ask your provider if you need to avoid taking any medicine or supplements before the procedure.
- Your healthcare provider will tell you when to stop eating and drinking before the procedure. This helps to keep you from vomiting during the procedure.
- Follow any instructions your healthcare provider may give you.
- Ask any questions you have before the procedure. You should understand what your healthcare provider is going to do. You have the right to make decisions about your healthcare and to give permission for tests or procedures.
What happens during the procedure?
The surgery is done at a surgery center or hospital.
In most cases you will be given local or regional anesthesia to keep you from feeling pain during the procedure. Local or regional anesthesia numbs part of your body while you stay awake. You may also be given medicine to help you relax.
Your healthcare provider will make cuts (incisions) in your groin and remove the testicles. Your provider will then close the cut.
You can ask your provider to insert a saline-filled replacement (prosthesis) for the testicles in your scrotum to give the look and feel of a normal scrotum.
The procedure usually takes about 1 hour.
What happens after the procedure?
After the surgery you may stay in a recovery area for at least a few hours and then you can usually go home.
Follow your healthcare provider's instructions to keep the wounds clean and dry. Wash your hands before and after touching the wounds. Wear loose fitting clothing to keep from irritating the incisions.
Ask your healthcare provider:
- How long it will take to recover
- What activities you should avoid, including lifting, and when you can return to your normal activities
- How to take care of yourself at home
- What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them
Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.
What are the risks of this procedure?
Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:
- You may have problems with anesthesia.
- You may have infection or bleeding.
- Other parts of your body may be injured during the surgery.
- You may have a loss of sex drive or trouble having erections.
Ask your healthcare provider how the risks apply to you. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.
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