Orchiectomy is a surgical procedure to remove one or both testes in men with prostate or testicular cancer.
In men who have prostate cancer, an orchiectomy, up until the 1990s, was considered the standard treatment. By removal of the testes, the influence of testosterone, the male hormone produced by the testes, is removed. Testosterone stimulates prostate cancer growth and progression of the disease.
Orchiectomy is done in men with testicular cancer to remove one or both testes that have cancer. By removing the cancerous testes, there will then be zero chance that the cancer can recur in the testes.
The orchiectomy operation is generally a very basic and safe operation. As in any surgery, some bleeding will be expected, so men should not be taking any medications like aspirin or ibuprofen that could decrease their blood's ability to clot.
An orchiectomy usually takes place in a hospital setting, either in an outpatient surgery clinic or in the hospital itself. General presurgery procedures, such as blood work, are done a few days to a week before the procedure.
To make sure a patient having an orchiectomy doesn't suffer any pain, anesthetic will be used during the procedure. Generally, two types of anesthetic are used during an orchiectomy: general anesthesia and epidural anesthesia. General anesthesia causes the patient to go into a sleeplike state. With epidural anesthesia, the patient is awake but is totally numb from the waist down and therefore cannot feel the operation.
Once the patient is adequately anesthetized, the surgeon will make a four-inch incision through the lower abdomen. After the incision in the lower abdomen is made, the surgeon will gently push the
testicles up through the inguinal canal and out through the incision.
The orchiectomy operation generally takes only 45 minutes to an hour. Patients either stay overnight in the hospital or are discharged from the hospital the same day if there appear to be no complications. Pain from the surgery is usually mild to moderate; narcoticpain medications can control the pain for most patients.
Edward R. Rosick D.O., M.P.H., The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,