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
prostate cancer usually needs in order to continue
- 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:
- Loss of sexual
- Erection problems.
- Larger breasts (gynecomastia).
- Loss of muscle mass.
- Thin or brittle bones (osteoporosis).
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
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology|
|Last Revised||September 12, 2012|