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Testicular Cancer

Side effects of surgery (orchidectomy)

An orchidectomy (removal of a testicle) is usually quite straightforward. It may be done as a day case, but men usually stay in hospital overnight. Some of the men interviewed here experienced relatively little discomfort after their operation, though others had pain or discomfort for a few weeks (see 'Orchidectomy').

A few of the men had minor complications after surgery. One man was playing around with his children on a bouncy castle, just two days after the operation, and as the result of this activity one end of his scar opened up a little.

Some men reported that the scar in their groin area had been tender for a while after surgery. One man said that his scar was still tender, six months after his operation.

 

Explains that his scar is still quite tender, six months after surgery.

Explains that his scar is still quite tender, six months after surgery.

Age at interview: 37
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 37
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Even now [six months after surgery] the scar from the operation, as I said was about five centimetres, well two and a half inches, its actually quite tender. I notice it if we're making love or anything like that. Or if I catch it or if the children are sitting on my lap and they sit on it, a bony bum, or whatever, gets on to that then it feels tender. But it's turned into now just like a red line. They don't use stitching on the outside anymore, they use a glue and that, that in itself is a good thing.

Another man said that his scar had been tender after surgery, but he stressed that the area from the scar to the scrotum, where the doctors had extracted the testicle, had been completely numb for a while. He said that feeling in that area still hadn't completely returned. Another man said that he was still numb in that area 16 years after the operation, and another wished that he had been warned that this might happen.

 

Explains that the area below his scar has been slightly numb since the operation.

Explains that the area below his scar has been slightly numb since the operation.

Age at interview: 34
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 34
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And you say it still feels a little bit numb at times?

The area, around that area it's not, it's not totally numb. Immediately after the operation it was really weird, it was, it felt slightly swollen if you like er slightly puffy and totally numb, there was absolutely no feeling there at all.

The scar?

This was the scar and everything below the scar, going down into the scrotum. That entire area which is probably, it's probably about a couple of inches sort of long, deep rather, that entire area is still slightly numb to the touch. It's not quite, it's an odd sensation but it's certainly not a problem, there's enough feeling in there to carry on doing anything that I would want to do.
 

One man said that his scar bled on and off for a couple of weeks, and others said that they had suffered painful wound infections which cleared up with antibiotics. One man recalled that he had a stitch abscess, and another said that he had a stitch that didn't dissolve properly, which caused him some minor irritation.

 

Explains that he developed a painful wound infection after his operation.

Explains that he developed a painful wound infection after his operation.

Age at interview: 28
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 27
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Would you like to say a bit more about the infection?

Yeah certainly yeah it was, I was back at home and I had a bit of a cough as well and every time I coughed it was extreme pain. I've never known pain like it to be honest with you, it was a very, very, very severe pain. And I coughed once, and my wound opened up, and it started bleeding quite a lot as well. So the district nurse came out that evening, about 1 o clock in the evening, and she said, "Oh the reason it's opened up is because you've caught an infection, who knows where from though," she said, "it could've been from the hospital, it could've been at home." So it was just a question of going on antibiotics again and cleaning the wound up. That was very painful to be honest with you, yeah, and it was quite scary as well seeing, the last thing you want to do is when you come out of the hospital and had an operation is to see all your wound open up and all blood coming out as well yeah, yeah so that was quite scary.

How long did it take to clear up?

What the infection? About 5 or 6 days roughly, yeah.


 
 

Explains that he developed a stitch abscess after his operation.

Explains that he developed a stitch abscess after his operation.

Age at interview: 21
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 21
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My first check up was 2nd November. The doctor came in, said, how am I feeling, yeah fine, had I been playing any sport? I said I'd been doing a little bit, I'd been playing football, I'd played cricket, but I had been to the nurse. The scar had become a little bit uncomfortable. I had large spots, very pussy, full of blood, I was quite worried about them. I just put my hand there one day and I thought, 'Oh'. Because as soon as the pubic hair grows back you can't really investigate thoroughly what is there. And I popped it, and 'Oh', blood all up my arm, it was not very nice. So rang the nurse at the local surgery, said, could she come and have a look, would she have a look. She said, "Oh I can see a little bit of a stitch," you know there was a little bit of the stitch. And they say that the thick white ones are the deep down stitches that they put in that should just dissolve but sometimes they work their way up to the top and they call it a stitch abscess which was causing me a little bit of discomfort. 

One man told us that he had had quite a bit of internal bleeding, and he reported that his scrotum had been very swollen after the operation, and that he was bruised right down to his knee. He mentioned that for a while he had had an area of numbness on the outside of his upper leg. He explained that this was where the doctors had attached some electrodes to try to reduce the amount of blood loss during surgery.

 

Explains that he had some internal bleeding and that he was bruised and swollen after surgery.

Explains that he had some internal bleeding and that he was bruised and swollen after surgery.

Age at interview: 37
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 37
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And then I went back to the ward, the consultant came round to see how I was, and the bruising, it looks like bruising because when you have this operation, even though they try and stitch you up, and this is what the consultant said, he tried to stitch me, get rid of as much possible blood loss internally as he could but every now and then you get these drips and they drip and they drip and they drip inside. I mean you, it doesn't mean anything to you, so I was quite swollen down there.

The, the scrotum is very swollen because there's still blood in there as it was dripping in but it also seems to secrete down the skin for some reason so I was actually, it looked like I was bruised to my knee, it was like a, it was almost like a triangular shape going back up to my knee

They say its usually around about three to five weeks you have off depending how much you've bled and unfortunately I was so borderline on how much I'd bled internally so I was very, very swollen. I would say to the size of a grapefruit! Yeah it was a, pretty swollen. It made the wife cry a little bit because she thought, it actually looked like I'd, I suppose the best way of explaining it as I'd been in a car accident and I'd landed on the gear stick, it was along those sort of lines, it looked that bruised, but it wasn't that painful, it wasn't that uncomfortable.

 

Explains that part of his leg was numb for a while because the doctor attached electrodes to...

Explains that part of his leg was numb for a while because the doctor attached electrodes to...

Age at interview: 37
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 37
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I'd also noticed that, not only had they shaved the area where they lift the testicle out [the groin area], but they'd also shaved the outside of my leg on my quads. And I asked them about that because it was completely numb and it felt very strange, they said, 'Oh, six months it will probably be numb.' What they do is they strap some sort of electrodes on your side of your leg and they send electrical currents through to reduce the amount of blood loss you have while you're having the operation, it's meant to reduce it. 

Another man recalled that he had developed a haematoma (a swelling full of blood), and he said that he had to stay in hospital for about two weeks, which is much longer than normal.

 

Recalls that after his orchidectomy he had a haematoma [swelling composed of blood].

Recalls that after his orchidectomy he had a haematoma [swelling composed of blood].

Age at interview: 38
Sex: Male
Age at diagnosis: 35
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And you say you had, there was a problem after the operation, can you explain what happened?

I think, yeah I developed a haematoma. I think it's a blood clot as a result of that, and I was kept in for you know longer than normal. Literally I think I was there for two weeks.

Where about was the haematoma?

It was in, in the region, it was again, I can't pinpoint it exactly.

Was that very uncomfortable?

I suppose at the time it was yeah, again I can't really remember. I suppose in a way because a lot of that you know, as far as I'm concerned is, I say a bad memory, I've tended to shut a lot of it out of my mind.

The loss of a testicle can affect men's self-image and sense of masculinity, at least for a while (see 'Masculinity and self-image').

Last reviewed December 2017.
Last updated December 2017.



 

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