Orchidectomy involves the surgical removal of the testicle. This procedure is performed in hospital under general anaesthetic. An incision is made into the groin, where the blood vessel leading to the testicle is first cut off in a bid to prevent cancer cells ‘spilling’ into the rest of the body.The procedure takes approximately an hour to perform and requires a short stay at the hospital. Most patients have a full recovery in 2 to 4 weeks.
Most side effects from this surgery tend to be temporary. Typically pain and discomfort around the operation site are the most common side effects, but this pain can be managed with painkillers, and should subside over time.
If you have had one testicle removed a prosthetic testicle can be made and inserted into the scrotum at a later date; sexuality and fertility should not be affected.
Removing both testicles leads to infertility. Hormone therapy may be needed to replace the lack of testosterone production; taking hormones will mean that sexual activity can continue and that erections and ejaculation will still be possible – although no sperm will be produced.
Talk to A/Prof Patel about possible side effects and the methods available to alleviate them.