What is the evidence base for this information?
This leaflet includes advice from consensus panels, the British Association of Urological Surgeons, the Department of Health and evidence based sources; it is, therefore, a reflection of best practice in the UK. It is intended to supplement any advice you may already have been given by your urologist or nurse specialist as well as the surgical team at Addenbrooke’s. Alternative treatments are outlined below and can be discussed in more detail with your urologist or specialist nurse.
- Removal of a non-cancerous testicle can be carried out through your groin or your scrotum, depending on where the testicle lies
- If you wish, we can replace the removed testicle with a prosthesis (artificial one) at the same time
- If your testicle is being removed for chronic pain, there is no guarantee that your pain will be relieved by the procedure
What does the procedure involve?
This involves removal of the testis via a groin or scrotal incision.
What are the alternatives to this procedure?
What should I expect before the procedure?
You will usually be admitted on the same day as your surgery. You will normally undergo pre assessment on the day of your clinic or an appointment for pre assessment will be made from clinic, to assess your general fitness, to screen for the carriage of MRSA and to perform some baseline investigations. After admission, you will be seen by members of the medical team which may include the consultant, junior urology doctors and your named nurse.
You will be asked not to eat or drink for six hours before surgery and, immediately before the operation, you may be given a pre-medication by the anaesthetist which will make you dry-mouthed and pleasantly sleepy.
You will normally be given an injection of antibiotics to prevent infection of the artificial testicle.
Please be sure to inform your urologist in advance of your surgery if you have any of the following:
- an artificial heart valve
- a coronary artery stent
- a heart pacemaker or defibrillator
- an artificial joint
- an artificial blood vessel graft
- a neurosurgical shunt
- any other implanted foreign body
- a prescription for Warfarin, Aspirin, Rivaroxaban, Dabigatran, Apixaban, Edoxaban or Clopidogrel , Ticagrelor or blood thinning medication
- a previous or current MRSA infection
- high risk of variant CJD (if you have received a corneal transplant, a neurosurgical dural transplant or previous injections of human derived growth hormone)
What happens during the procedure?
Either a full general anaesthetic (where you will be asleep throughout the procedure) or a spinal anaesthetic (where you are awake but unable to feel anything from the waist down) will be used. All methods minimise pain; your anaesthetist will explain the pros and cons of each type of anaesthetic to you. The testis is removed through a small incision either in the groin or in the scrotum, depending on where the testis lies.
If an artificial testicle is needed, this is inserted into the scrotum and the neck of the scrotum is closed off with stitches to prevent the prosthesis from moving up into the groin. The prosthesis itself is fixed to the inside of the scrotum to prevent it from rotating.
What happens immediately after the procedure?
You may experience discomfort for a few days after the procedure but painkillers will be given to you to take home. Absorbable stitches are normally used which do not require removal.
Are there any side effects?
Most procedures have a potential for side-effects. You should be reassured that, although all these complications are well-recognised, the majority of patients do not suffer any problems after a urological procedure.
Please use the check boxes to tick off individual items when you are happy that they have been discussed to your satisfaction:
Common (greater than one in 10)
- Swelling, discomfort or bruising of the scrotum which may last several days
Occasional (between one in 10 and one in 50)
- Infection of incision requiring further treatment & possible removal of the implant
- Bleeding from the wound requiring surgery & possible removal of the implant
- Loss or reduction of future fertility
- Cosmetic result is not always perfect
- May ride up in warm weather and lie at a higher level than the other testicle
- Palpable stitch at one end which you may be able to feel
Rare (less than one in 50)
- Unexpected pathology in the testicle which may require further treatment
- Pain, infection or leaking requiring removal of implant
- Long-term unknown risks from use of silicone products
- Temporary or permanent bruising or damage to the nerve in the groin causing temporary or permanent abnormal sensation to the upper thigh
- Unknown long-term risks associated with silicone-based products
- Anaesthetic or cardiovascular problems possibly requiring intensive care admission (including chest infection, pulmonary embolus, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, heart attack and death)
Hospital-acquired infection (overall risk for Addenbrooke’s)
- Colonisation with MRSA (0.02%, 1 in 5,000)
- Clostridium difficile bowel infection (0.04%; 1 in 2,500)
- MRSA bloodstream infection (0.01%; 1 in 10,000)
(These rates may be greater in high-risk patients e.g. with long-term drainage tubes, after removal of the bladder for cancer, after previous infections, after prolonged hospitalisation or after multiple admissions)
What should I expect when I get home?
When you leave hospital, you will be given a discharge summary of your admission. This holds important information about your inpatient stay and your operation. If, in the first few weeks after your discharge, you need to call your GP for any reason or to attend another hospital, please take this summary with you to allow the doctors to see details of your treatment. This is particularly important if you need to consult another doctor within a few days of your discharge.
The groin and scrotum may be uncomfortable for 7 to 10 days. Simple painkillers will usually relieve this discomfort.
You are advised to take 7 to 10 days off work and to refrain from vigorous exercise (including sport) for six weeks.
What else should I look out for?
If you develop a temperature, increased redness, throbbing or drainage at the site of the operation, please contact your GP.
Are there any other important points?
A follow-up outpatient appointment will normally be arranged six to eight weeks after the operation. Whilst an artificial testicle may restore your external appearance to relative normality, it tends to be much firmer than a normal testicle and does not, therefore, feel normal.
Driving after surgery
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are fit to drive following your surgery. You do not normally need to notify the DVLA unless you have a medical condition that will last for longer than three months after your surgery and may affect your ability to drive. You should, however, check with your insurance company before returning to driving. Your doctors will be happy to provide you with advice on request.
Privacy and dignity
Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high tech equipment and/or specialist one to one care is required.
Hair removal before an operation
For most operations, you do not need to have the hair around the site of the operation removed. However, sometimes the healthcare team need to see or reach your skin and if this is necessary they will use an electric hair clipper with a single-use disposable head, on the day of the surgery. Please do not shave the hair yourself or use a razor to remove hair, as this can increase the risk of infection. Your healthcare team will be happy to discuss this with you.
NICE clinical guideline No 74: Surgical site infection (October 2008); Department of Health: High Impact Intervention No 4: Care bundle to preventing surgical site infection (August 2007)
Is there any research being carried out in this field at CUH?
There is no specific research in this area at the moment but all operative procedures performed in the department are subject to rigorous audit at a monthly audit and clinical governance meeting.
Who can I contact for more help or information?
Uro-oncology nurse specialist
Bladder cancer nurse practitioner (haematuria, chemotherapy and BCG)
Prostate cancer nurse practitioner
01223 274608 or 216897 or bleep 154-548
Surgical care practitioner
01223 348590 or 256157 or bleep 154-351
Urology nurse practitioner (incontinence, urodynamics, catheter patients)
01223 274608 or 586748 or bleep 157-237
Urology nurse practitioner (stoma care)
Urology nurse practitioner (stone disease)
01223 349800 or bleep 152-879
Patient Advice and Liaison Centre (PALS)
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 216756
PatientLine: *801 (from patient bedside telephones only)
E mail: email@example.com
Mail: PALS, Box No 53 Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ
Chaplaincy and multi faith community
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 217769
E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mail: The Chaplaincy, Box No 105 Addenbrooke's Hospital
Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 2QQ
MINICOM System ("type" system for the hard of hearing)
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 217589
Access office (travel, parking and security information)
Telephone: +44 (0)1223 596060
What should I do with this leaflet?
Thank you for taking the trouble to read this patient information leaflet. If you wish to sign it and retain a copy for your own records, please do so below.
If you would like a copy of this leaflet to be filed in your hospital records for future reference, please let your urologist or specialist nurse know. If you do, however, decide to proceed with the scheduled procedure, you will be asked to sign a separate consent form which will be filed in your hospital notes and you will, in addition, be provided with a copy of the form if you wish.
I have read this patient information leaflet and I accept the information it provides.
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Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge
Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151