Surgery is the main way to treat most types of testicular cancer. The goal is to remove as much cancer and save as much of the testicles and how they work as possible.
This can be done in 2 ways:
A radical inguinal orchiectomy is the removal of 1 or both testicles. They’re taken out through the groin instead of the scrotum. This helps lower the risk of spreading any cancer.
If only 1 testicle is removed, the other healthy one can make enough sperm cells and hormones. If both testicles are removed, then no sperm cells or hormones can be made. A drop in testosterone may cause hot flashes, loss of muscle mass, and a lower sex drive. It can be replaced with a patch, shot, or gel.
A prosthetic (fake) testicle will be placed so the scrotum will look normal. This can be done at the same time as the procedure or later.
Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection
If cancer spreads beyond the testicle, it's mainly found in nearby lymph nodes. A retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) is done to take these out. RPLND is a long and complex surgery.
If it’s done as open, a long cut is made in the belly. This lets the doctor get to the organs and lymph nodes. All lymph nodes from the sheet of muscle right above the stomach down to the pelvis are checked. Each one is looked at closely. If it shows signs of cancer, it's taken out.
During a laparoscopy, tools are placed into small cuts in the belly. In most cases, you will get better faster with this type of surgery.
This can cause some muscle and nerve damage. It can also lead to retrograde ejaculation. Semen is redirected to the bladder instead of through the urethra and out of the body during ejaculation. This can cause problems with your ability to father children.
Surgery for testicular cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicular-cancer/treating/surgery.html. Accessed October 1, 2020.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.