Testicular Cancer

False testicles

False testicles (prostheses or implants) are available to men who have had a testicle removed. They are available in various sizes. These may be made of a reinforced silicone elastomer (a rubber-like substance), which are solid if incised, or they may be gel-filled and slightly softer. In the USA it is also possible to find implants that are filled with saline.

A recent research study found that about three quarters of those who received a false testicle were pleased with them. About a quarter felt dissatisfied about the size, shape, or weight, and 10% wished they hadn't had one.

Today, complications of infection, leaking or pain are rare.

A few of the men interviewed here said that the subject of a false testicle had not been discussed with them. One young man, diagnosed in 2001, was adamant that the subject had never been raised.

Although most men said that losing a testicle had not had an adverse long-term effect on their feelings about their masculinity (see 'Masculinity and self-image'), some men said that the surgery had affected self-image, and so decided to have an implant.

Some men were given a choice of having an implant at the same time as the orchidectomy. One man said that his surgeon recommended that a false testicle should be put in at the same time as the orchidectomy or not at all. Another man said that he thought that all men should at least think about having a prosthesis, which he strongly recommended to younger men who might want to have sex without first telling the other person about their past experiences.

Some men were only given the option of having a false testicle some time after the initial orchidectomy. Their doctors had not wanted to insert a prosthesis at the same time as the initial operation in case of infection. One man, who had a prosthesis, said that the second operation wasn't as bad as the first one, that the false testicle was excellent and made him 'whole again', and that it made it easier for him to have new relationships. Another man described the procedure, and said that the implant was almost the same as his other testicle in terms of size and density.

One man, diagnosed in 1994, was upset that he wasn't offered a false testicle. About a year after the initial operation, he raised the subject, but his doctor said it might lead to infection. More recently, when he asked again about having an implant, he was told that the operation would be similar to the initial orchidectomy, and he couldn't afford to take the time off work.

A few men had problems with their false testicles. One man, who had two false testicles implanted in the 1960's, suffered a humiliating experience. One implant came through the scrotum and rolled down his trouser leg. The other man, who had two implants in 2001, developed an infection, and so one had to be removed.

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One man reported that he found his prosthesis a bit hard; particularly in the early stages when he was getting used to it, and he said he was not sure he'd choose to have one again.

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Some of the men decided not to have a false testicle inserted. One, diagnosed in 1998, said that his doctor had discouraged him from having a false testicle because of the possibility of infection. Another man said that since the implant was made of silicone he was a bit concerned about safety. However, he said that if he had been younger and single he would have almost certainly had one.

Others asserted that visually it wasn't obvious that they had lost a testicle, though some said that their remaining testicle hung in the middle, and that when naked it was fairly obvious that one was missing. Two men said that it was more comfortable with only one testicle.




 

Last reviewed December 2014.

 

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