Orchiopexy: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

Picture of male genitals

You have had an orchiopexy (say "OR-kee-oh-peck-see"). In adults this is usually done for testicle torsion. This occurs when your testicle twists, which twists the cord that provides it with blood. This cuts off blood from the testicle. This is usually an emergency, and the surgery takes place right away.

Your doctor made a cut, called an incision, in your scrotum and untwisted the cord. If the testicle looked like it was too damaged, your doctor probably removed it. Your doctor may have replaced the testicle with a prosthetic testicle, which is a plastic oval. This keeps the shape of your scrotum close to what it was before the surgery. The loss of one testicle should not change your ability to get an erection or father a child.

If the testicle is okay, your doctor attached it to your scrotum with stitches. This will keep the cord from twisting again. Your doctor also attached the other testicle to the scrotum so the cord will not twist in the future.

In most cases, doctors use stitches that dissolve on their own in 2 to 3 weeks and do not need to be removed. The incision will ooze fluid for 2 to 3 days.

You can expect to feel better each day, although you may have some mild to moderate pain for several days after surgery. You may need pain medicine during this time. Your scrotum will be swollen after surgery. This is normal. The swelling usually goes down within 2 to 4 weeks.

You should be able to do most of your normal activities after 1 to 2 weeks, except for those that require a lot of effort. It is important to avoid straining with bowel movements and doing heavy lifting while you are recovering.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover. Lie down for 15 minutes several times each day for the first few days after surgery. This will help reduce the swelling of your scrotum.
  • Try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, for 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.
  • Avoid lifting anything that would make you strain. This may include heavy grocery bags and milk containers, a heavy briefcase or backpack, cat litter or dog food bags, a vacuum cleaner, or a child.
  • Do not drive for 1 to 2 weeks after surgery or until your doctor says it is okay.
  • You may take showers. Pat the cut (incision) dry. Do not take a bath for 2 weeks or until your doctor tells you it is okay.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay for you to have sex.
  • Most men are able to return to work or their normal activities within 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.

Diet

  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.

Medicines

  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

Incision care

  • Wash the area with warm, soapy water at least 2 times a day. Pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
  • You may cover the area with a gauze bandage and hold it in place with your underwear. Keep the area clean and dry.

Ice

  • Put ice or a cold pack on your scrotum for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours (when you are awake) for the first day after surgery. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.

Other instructions

  • Wear snug briefs or a jockstrap to support your scrotum for the first few weeks after surgery.

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 or nurse call line 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.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
  • You have severe pain in your belly.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • Your incision comes open.
  • You are bleeding from the incision enough to soak a large bandage.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • A fever.
  • Your swelling is getting worse.
  • You have trouble passing urine.

Watch closely for any changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You are not getting better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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