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There are 2 surgical procedures done to treat testicular cancer :

  • Orchiectomy
  • Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND)
Orchiectomy

Orchiectomy is the surgical removal of the testicle. If your examination and tests are consistent with cancer, you will probably have surgery to examine the testicle directly. An incision is made in the groin and the entire testicle is removed if it appears to have cancer.

It is possible during this procedure or in a subsequent operation to place a prosthetic (fake) testicle in the scrotum to recreate a normal appearance.

Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection (RPLND)

A nonseminoma cancer may have spread beyond the testis, but is likely to be confined to the lymph nodes in the area. As a result, you may have these lymph nodes surgically removed. This procedure is called a retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND).

An incision is made along your abdomen and every lymph node from your diaphragm to your anus is inspected. Any that may have cancer are removed and sent to the lab for analysis. This is major surgery, usually taking 4-6 hours or longer.

Historically, this procedure could cause significant side effects including retrograde ejaculation (ejaculation of semen back into the bladder). More recent advances in surgical techniques, however, have made these side effects much less common, but have not eliminated them entirely.

References:

Association of Cancer Online Resources website. Available at: http://www.acor.org. Accessed January 31, 2006.

Casciato DA. Manual of Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2004.

Cashen AF, Wildes TM. The Washington Manual of Hematology and Oncology Subspecialty Consult. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Wolter Kluwers Health; 2008.

Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center website. Available at: http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu. Accessed January 31, 2006.

Fauci AS, Braunwald E, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2000.



Last reviewed September 2014 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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