Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Orchiectomy for Prostate Cancer

Orchiectomy is the removal of the testicles. The penis and the scrotum, the pouch of skin that holds the testicles, are left intact. An orchiectomy is done to stop most of the body's production of testosterone, which prostate cancer usually needs in order to continue growing.

  • Simple orchiectomy is the removal of both testicles through a cut (incision) in the front of the scrotum. If desired, artificial testicles (saline implants) can be put into the scrotum.
  • Subcapsular orchiectomy is the removal of the tissue from the lining of the testicles where testosterone is made. This leaves a nearly normal-looking scrotum.

These methods work equally well for stopping the production of testosterone by the testicles. These surgeries are about as complicated as a vasectomy and take less than 30 minutes.

What To Expect After Surgery

Orchiectomy can be done as an outpatient procedure or with a short hospital stay. You can typically resume regular activities in 1 to 2 weeks. And you can expect a full recovery in 2 to 4 weeks.

Why It Is Done

Orchiectomy may help relieve symptoms, prevent complications, and prolong survival for advanced prostate cancer. Radiation treatment is sometimes needed also.

How Well It Works

Orchiectomy often causes the tumor to shrink and relieves bone pain.

This surgery does not cure prostate cancer, although it may prolong survival.


Orchiectomy causes sudden hormone changes in the body. Side effects from hormone changes may include:

What To Think About

Removing the testicles is one way to cut down on testosterone and other male hormones, or androgens. Taking medicine is another way to reduce androgen levels in your body. Some men may prefer surgery over taking pills or having injections. But if you choose to take medicine, you can stop taking the hormone drugs. And the side effects from taking medicine may go away. An orchiectomy is permanent.

Some men choose to have reconstructive surgery after an orchiectomy. For this, the surgeon replaces the testicles with artificial testicles.

Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerChristopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology

Current as ofNovember 14, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

man with doctor
Symptoms, risks, treatments
man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore
prostate cancer cells
What does this diagnosis mean?
doctor and male patient
Is it worth it?
cancer fighting foods
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
Prostate Enlarged
Picture Of The Prostate
Prostate Cancer Quiz
screening tests for men
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Vitamin D