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There are 2 surgical procedures done to treat testicular cancer:

  • Orchiectomy
  • Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND)


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 testicle, 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 the diaphragm to the anus is inspected. Any that may have cancer are removed and examined under a microscope. 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.

Revision Information

  • Testicular cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003142-pdf.pdf. Accessed September 17, 2014.

  • Testicular cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 31, 2012. Accessed September 17, 2014.

  • Testicular cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/testicular-cancer. Updated November 2013. Accessed September 17, 2014.