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WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Orchiectomy, also called orchidectomy, is surgery to remove one or both of your testicles (testes). Your testes are egg-shaped organs that lie inside your scrotum, hung by your spermatic cord. Your testes make sperm and male sex hormones (special body chemicals), such as testosterone. Your scrotum is the sack of skin under your penis (male sex organ). The spermatic cord is a group of blood vessels and nerves, and is a passageway for sperm. With an orchiectomy, your body will stop or decrease the making of testosterone.
- Orchiectomy may be used to treat testicular or prostate cancer. The surgery may be done if you have a bad infection in your scrotum that spreads your testis. You may also need the surgery if you have had a scrotal trauma (blow or open wound). An orchiectomy may also be done if your testis becomes damaged from a testicular torsion. Testicular torsion is a condition where your testis and spermatic cord get twisted.
- There are three types of orchiectomy, including subcapsular and total orchiectomy. Subcapsular orchiectomy is the removal of parts inside your testis. A subcapsular orchiectomy allows your scrotum to keep its normal look. A total orchiectomy is removal of your whole testis. You and your caregiver will decide which type of testicular removal surgery is best for you.
- Keep a written list of the medicines you take, the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list of your medicines or the pill bottles when you see your caregivers. Learn why you take each medicine. Ask your caregiver for information about your medicine. Do not use any medicines, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements without first talking to caregivers.
- Always take your medicine as directed by caregivers. Call your caregiver if you think your medicines are not helping or if you feel you are having side effects. Do not quit taking your medicines until you discuss it with your caregiver. If you are taking medicine that makes you drowsy, do not drive or use heavy equipment.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
- Antihormone medicine: Antihormone medicine may be given if your testosterone level does not decrease enough after your surgery. This may be needed if the reason for your surgery was to decrease your testosterone level.
- Bone strengthening medicines: Bisphosphonates, calcium, and vitamin D supplements may be needed after orchiectomy. These medicines help decrease bone loss and reduce your risk of broken bones.
- Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
- Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
- Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
Follow-up visit information:
Ask your caregiver when you need to return for a follow-up visit. You may need to see your caregiver for tests to check how your body is doing. You may need to have follow-up x-ray scans and blood tests after your surgery. Make sure to keep all your planned visits with your caregiver. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit.
Caregivers may instruct you to apply ice over your incisions to decrease your pain and swelling. Put some crushed ice in a plastic bag and cover it with a thin towel. Place this over your incision or between your legs for 15 to 20 minutes every hour. Do not leave the ice on for too long as this may damage your skin.
You will have a bandage over your surgery site. Do not take the bandage off until your caregiver says it is okay. You may also need to wear a jock strap (athletic supporter) for support and comfort. Ask your caregiver for more information about caring for your wound and using your jock strap.
If you have cancer, you may need the following after your orchiectomy:
- Chemotherapy: This kind of medicine works by killing tumor cells that were not removed with surgery. Chemotherapy may also help cure cancer. Many different chemotherapy medicines are used to treat cancer. When you have this treatment, you may need blood tests often to see how your body is doing.
- Radiation therapy: This is a treatment using x-rays or gamma rays. Radiation helps kill any cancer cells that may be left in your testicle area. Radiation will also help keep any remaining cancer cells from spreading.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You are sick to your stomach or are throwing up.
- You have a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- You have a fever or chills.
- Your skin is itchy, swollen, or you have a new rash after taking your medicines.
- You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery, condition, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- You have bad pain in your legs or your legs become very swollen.
- You have lower abdominal (stomach) or back pain that does not go away even after taking your medicines.
- You have trouble passing urine or having a bowel movement.
- Your incision is swollen, red, bleeding, or has pus coming from it.
- Your stitches come apart.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
- You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
- Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
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