Orchiectomy: Before Your Surgery

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What is an orchiectomy?

Male reproductive system

Orchiectomy (say "or-kee-EK-tuh-mee") is surgery to remove one or both of your testicles. It is often done to treat cancer in the prostate or testicle.

For prostate cancer, the doctor makes a cut in the scrotum. This cut is called an incision. Both testicles are removed through the cut. Then the doctor closes the cut with stitches.

For testicular cancer, the doctor makes a cut in the lower belly. He or she pushes the testicle up into the pelvic area and through the cut in the belly. Then the cut is closed with stitches.

You should be able to do most of your normal activities after 2 to 3 weeks. But you will not be able to do anything that requires your body to work hard. It's important not to strain with bowel movements or to lift heavy things.

You will probably need to take 2 to 3 weeks off from work. It depends on the type of work you do and how you feel.

With one testicle, you can still get an erection or father a child. But if both testicles are removed, you will not be able to father a child. And you may have problems getting an erection.

It is common to feel sad or depressed after this surgery. You may have concerns about body image and sex. Ask your doctor about support groups or other resources that can help.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the surgery.
  • The surgery will take about 1 hour.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: July 26, 2016