One of the ways that testicular cancer is treated is through the removal of the testicle affected. Surgery may not be an option for everyone but it is a standard practice, especially when the cancer is caught later than most other cases. It is important to note that regardless of the stage the cancer is in, surgery is always seen as an option.
The typical surgery performed on men with testicular cancer is called a radical inguinal orchietomy. During the surgery, the doctors will make an incision in the groin area and they will pull the testicle away from the scrotum through the incision. From there, the spermatic cord which goes from the abdomen and is linked to the testicle is cut.
In surgery, the doctors have to be very careful to prevent any cancer cells from migrating into the incision created or even loosening them from the tumor or lump removed so it could travel via the blood throughout the body.
Lymph Node Dissection
In some more extreme cases where the testicular cancer may be more advanced, you may have an operation called a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection. This involves creating a large cut for the removal of lymph nodes located in back of the abdominal area. This operation is a long, involved process and only the most experienced of surgeons should conduct it as there can be some complications.
Laparoscopic surgery is another option that is used to remove these lymph nodes too. This type of surgery involves a much smaller incision and is therefore less invasive and has a smaller scar. While laparoscopic surgery is a lot easier for you in terms of recovery, it is more difficult for the doctor as they may not be able to see all the lymph nodes to know whether they are cancerous or not. In this type of surgery, a slender lighted tube is inserted into the incision to allow doctors to see inside your body but it cannot get to all the “nooks and crannies.” Therefore, the laparoscopic surgery is not performed as often.
Some surgery on the lymph nodes may result in damage to the nerves that are associated with ejaculation. If this damage occurs, the man can still have sexual intercourse and erections but the sperm ends up in the bladder rather than in the ejaculate. This condition does make it hard for men to have children with a partner. There are new surgical techniques however that are preserving that nerve function.
When both testicles have to be removed, this technically renders a man infertile. In addition, you would not be able to produce testosterone which means a supplemental form of it must be taken. These testosterone supplements come in the form of a shot, gel or patch. Any oral forms like pills are not typically effective enough.
For the most part, if you lose one or both testicles, you can still have an active sex life. However, cosmetically some men feel self-conscious about their new appearance after testicular surgery and may seek to get testicle prosthesis. It is up to the individual as to whether or not you want to seek this option.