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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. 

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.

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.

Possible changes to your sex drive and becoming infertile can be difficult to come to terms with. Talking to someone about this could help. This could be a close friend or a professional.

Surgery to remove lymph nodes (retroperitoneal lymph node dissection)

Very rarely you might need more surgery to treat a non seminoma (teratoma). 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. This swelling usually goes away on its own. But contact your doctor if it’s getting worse or continues.

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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