Cancer Home > Testicular Cancer Surgery

When surgery is used to treat testicular cancer, it may involve a procedure known as a radical inguinal orchiectomy, in which the testicle is removed through an incision in the groin. Surgery that removes the testicle and some of the lymph nodes may be done at diagnosis or staging. Some patients may require chemotherapy or radiation therapy after their surgery.

An Introduction to Testicular Cancer Surgery

Testicular cancer surgery that removes the testicle through an incision in the groin is called a radical inguinal orchiectomy. In a radical inguinal orchiectomy, some of the lymph nodes located deep in the abdomen may also be removed (lymph node dissection).
Surgery that removes the testicle and some of the lymph nodes may be done at diagnosis or staging. Tumors that have spread to other places in the body may be partly or entirely removed by surgery.
Even if the doctor removes all of the cancer that can be seen at the time of the surgery, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Testicular cancer treatment that is given after the surgery to increase the chances of a cure is called adjuvant therapy.

What About Fertility and Erections?

Men may be concerned that losing a testicle will affect their ability to have sexual intercourse or make them sterile (unable to produce children). However, a man with one healthy testicle can still have a normal erection and produce sperm.
Therefore, an operation to remove one testicle does not make a man impotent (see Impotence) and seldom interferes with fertility (the ability to produce children). For cosmetic purposes, men can have a prosthesis (an artificial testicle) placed in the scrotum at the time of their orchiectomy or at any time after the surgery.
If lymph nodes need to be removed, patients should talk with their doctor about the possibility of removing the lymph nodes using a special nerve-sparing surgical technique that may preserve the ability to ejaculate normally.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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