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Problems after surgery

Find out about the possible side effects of surgery for testicular cancer.

The possible problems depend on the type of surgery you have.

Removing a testicle (orchidectomy)

You will have some soreness and bruising for a couple of weeks after your operation. There are no lasting side effects after you have one testicle removed. The other testicle makes up for the missing one by making more testosterone and sperm.

You can also have a false testicle put in place so it looks the same afterwards.

Removing both testicles

Having testicular cancer in both testicles is not common. It happens in about 5 out of every 100 men (5%). If you did have cancer in both testicles you would need surgery to remove them both.

To maintain your sex drive and be able to get an erection you would need testosterone replacement therapy.

You would also be infertile. You can bank sperm before you have surgery so that you can still father children.

Surgery to remove lymph nodes (retroperitoneal lymph node dissection)

Very rarely to treat teratoma you might need more surgery. This is to remove lymph glands at the back of your tummy (abdomen). This operation is a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection.

The operation can damage nerves that control the release of sperm (ejaculation). This could cause one of the following:

  • a failure to ejaculate
  • your sperm to go into your bladder (retrograde ejaculation)

You can still get an erection and have an orgasm. But a small number of men might not produce any semen. And this can affect their abiltiy to have children. 

Before you have surgery your doctor will talk to you about this and the possibility of sperm banking.

Bleeding

There is a small risk of severe bleeding. Let your doctor or nurse know straight away if you have swelling, bruising or pain in your tummy after the operation.

A swollen penis

Fluid can collect on the penis and cause swelling. It goes away on its own. 

Last reviewed: 
15 Dec 2017
  • Testicular seminoma and non seminoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow up
    J Oldenburg and others
    Annals of Oncology, 2013, Vol 24 (6 ): vi125-vi132

  • Guidelines on Male Infertility
    P Albers and others
    European Association of Urology, 2016

  • EAU Guidelines on Testicular Cancer

    P Albers and others

    European Association of Urology 2016

  • Cancer Principles & Practice of Oncology (10th edition)

    V T DeVita Jr, T S Lawrence and S A Rosenberg

    Wolers Kluwer 2015

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