Decorative image

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.

Having testicular cancer in both testicles is very rare. 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 non seminoma cancer, the lymph glands at the back of your tummy (abdomen) need to be taken out by surgery. 

This operation is called is called retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. In a small number of men it can cause loss of ability to father children.

The operation can damage nerves that control the release of sperm from your penis (ejaculation). This happens in a small number of men and makes you ejaculate backwards into your bladder (retrograde ejaculation). You can still get an erection and have an orgasm, but you won't produce any semen.

You might still be able to give sperm samples and use them to fertilise your partner – directly or with the test tube baby technique (called in vitro fertilization or IVF).


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: 
11 Sep 2014
  • Testicular seminoma and non seminoma: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow up
    J Oldenburg and others
    Annals of Oncology, 2013, 24 (supplement 6 ): vi125-vi132

  • Guidelines on Male Infertility
    GR Dohle and others
    European Association of Urology, 2010, pages 52–3

Information and help

Dangoor sponsorship

About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.