The operation to remove a cancerous testicle – The surgeon’s view by Dr Ian Eardley, consultant urologist at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, Leeds.

“When a man has testicular cancer, almost always it is best to remove the whole testis. The operation is called “orchidectomy”.

“Orchidectomy in men with testicular cancer is a short surgical procedure that is usually performed under general anaesthesia. Most patients are able to go home on the day of surgery.

“The skin incision is a 10-15m incision in the groin, with the surgeon being able to access the spermatic cord through the incision. The testis lies in the scrotum, at the end of the spermatic cord, which contains several structures, most importantly the blood vessels that supply the testis. The cord is clamped before the testis is delivered into the incision. The cord is then divided between ligatures and the testis is removed and then sent to the laboratory so that the cells of the tumour can be examined. This may influence subsequent treatment. The wound is closed with sutures or clips.

“In some cases, if the patient wishes, a prosthetic testis can be replaced into the scrotum through the groin incision to give a better cosmetic appearance post operatively. Prosthetic testicles are the same shape and size of a testis and are made of silicone.”


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