The testicles are located inside the scrotum, and are the main organs of the male reproductive system. From puberty, the collecting tubules inside the testicles produce sperm. The testicles also produce the hormone testosterone. The hormone testosterone has multiple effects on the body, including having a deep voice, affects facial and body hair, helps with sex drive, and helps with erections.
Common testicular disorders include: testicular trauma, torsion, and testicular cancer.
Testicular trauma can cause severe pain, bruising and swelling. Testicles are made of a spongy material, therefore can absorb the shock of injury without serious damage. Testicular rupture is a rare trauma due to a direct blow or is squeezed again the pelvis. This injury may require treatment.
Testicular torsion is a twisting of the spermatic cord. The spermatic cord secures one end of the testicle. Sometimes the cord will twist and cut off the blood supply to the testicle resulting in sudden severe pain, enlargement of the affected testicle, tenderness, and swelling. This is an emergency, as the goal is save the testicle by restoring the blood supply immediately.
An orchiectomy is the removal of one or both testicles, depending on if the affected individual has had a testicular injury, torsion, or infection. A radical orchiectomy removes the testicle and the spermatic cord for testicular cancer.
The orchiectomy is performed in an outpatient setting. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, taking approximately one hour. A small incision is made above the pubic area. The testicle is removed and the incision is closed and the patient recovers is the recovery room.
Recovery after Orchiectomy:
After the procedure, the patient is observed in the recovery area and is discharged home the same day.
Generally, there is mild discomfort that is managed with over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol. This medicine will help with swelling and pain. The patient may also be encouraged to wear an athletic supporter.
Men can expect to return to normal activity in approximately 4 weeks. One should avoid strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, or pushing.
If the orchiectomy was performed due to a cancer diagnosis, further treatment may be necessary.
If the patient has one testicle, he should still be able to have an erection and have sex. If both testicles are removed, the body will not make sperm. If you want to have children, you may want to store sperm before your procedure. Please talk to your doctor so you can plan for that.
Without both testicles you will not be able to make as much testosterone. This may lower sex drive, making it more difficult to have an erection. In addition, you may experience hot flashes, loss of muscle mass, and fatigue. There are treatment options for replacing testosterone.