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After surgery

What to expect after your operation.

After removing a testicle (orchidectomy)

You can usually go home later that day but might need to stay in hospital overnight.

Your groin and scrotum may be uncomfortable for a week or so and you might need to take mild painkillers. You have your stitches taken out after about a week.

Most men can go back to normal activities, including work, after 2 weeks. But you might need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for a month.

Having one testicle removed won’t affect your ability to get an erection. For most men it won’t affect their ability to have children. But for some men their remaining testicle might not work so well and this could reduce their fertility.

Talk to your doctor if having children is important. They might suggest sperm banking before having surgery.

After removing lymph nodes (retroperitoneal lymph node dissection)

When you come round after the operation you might be in a high dependency unit (HDU) or intensive care unit (ICU). Your nurses will monitor you closely. This is usually only for one night before you move back to your ward. 

You will probably have several tubes in place:

  • a drip (intravenous infusion) to give you liquids
  • tubes (called drains) to stop fluid collecting around the operation site
  • a catheter to drain your bladder
  • a tube going down your nose and into your stomach, to drain fluid and stop you feeling sick

You may also have:

  • a blood pressure cuff on your arm
  • a clip on your finger to measure your pulse
  • a pump containing painkillers going into your drip
  • a hand controlled pump to give yourself extra painkillers

The nurses take out your drip when you can eat and drink again. Your tubes (drains) are removed over the next few days. Your catheter comes out when you can pass urine normally.

Your wound

Your wound will be sore or painful at first but your nurse will give you painkillers. After a couple of days you can usually start to move around. You will be able to go home after about 7 to 10 days.

It can take a few weeks for the wound to fully heal. And you will need to avoid strenuous exercise and heavy lifting for at least 6 weeks.

Infertility

Removing the lymph glands from the abdomen can make some men unable to father children (infertile). It is sometimes possible to do an operation called a nerve sparing lymph node dissection to try to stop this happening. This is a highly specialised operation and you might need to travel to a specialist hospital to have it. It is not always possible to do if there is cancer close to the nerve pathways. Leaving the nerves behind could increase the risk of the cancer coming back.

After removing secondary cancer in the lungs

You have several tubes in place when you come round after the operation. You may have:

  • a drip (intravenous infusion) to give you liquids
  • tubes (called drains) to stop fluid collecting around the operation site
  • a catheter to drain your bladder

You may also have:

  • a blood pressure cuff on your arm
  • a clip on your finger to measure your pulse
  • a pump containing painkillers going into your drip
  • a hand controlled pump to give yourself extra painkillers

Your nurse takes your drip out when you can eat and drink again. Your tubes (drains) are removed over the next few days. Your catheter comes out when you can pass urine normally. 

Chest drain

You have a tube into your chest for a few days. The tube connects to a suction bottle. It is there to help your lung expand (inflate) again. Surgery to the chest always makes the lung collapse but it can be expanded (reinflated) over a couple of days.

Painkillers

You will have painkillers for some days after the operation. The surgery may involve cutting through a couple of ribs and this can be painful while it heals.

Information and help

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About Cancer generously supported by Dangoor Education since 2010.