Prosthetic is an implant, a foreign body that replaces a natural part of the body. Most often we see only the external prosthetics used for limbs but there are prosthetics available to replace internal organs of the body too. They don’t really provide the body with actual functionality, they act just like place holders. Testicular prosthesis procedure falls in that category wherein the prosthetic testicle is just placed inside the scrotum so that the appearance of the scrotal sack looks normal. Testicular prosthetics are made of silicone rubber. It can be a solid silicone ball or filled with saline solution. They come in all shapes and sizes so that when one testicle is replaced, the size and shape matches the other one.
Who is the right candidate to undergo testicular prosthesis?
- If the testicle(s) has/haven’t descended at birth (cryptorchidism) . Usually in this case, a surgery is done and the testicles in the abdomen are pushed down through the inguinal canal and the canal is closed. However, in some cases, the testicles may have to be removed.
- Injury or infection to the testicle that rendered it to be useless or even harmful to other parts of the body.
- If the testicle lost its functionality due to conditions like testicular torsion etc.
- Surgical removal of testicles (orchidectomy) as a part of treating a medical condition such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer etc.
- Gender change from female to male.
Testicular prosthesis procedure
- You will be administered full body anaesthesia or local anaesthesia.
- A small incision will be made to the side of the testicle or in the lower part of the groyne (groin) and the prosthetic will be placed inside the scrotum.
- The incision will be stitched up.
- Bandages will be put up as needed.
Depending on the hospital, the surgery may be performed as an out-patient or in-patient procedure.
Testicular prosthesis – complications
Any surgery comes with a risk and you can expect some complications. Most of the time, if you pick an expert andrologist or sexologist, the complications will be minimal to none.
- Collection of blood around the prosthetic (hematoma)
- Formation of scar tissue around the prosthetic.
- A low quality prosthetic can break and leak the saline solution.
If you are suffering from diabetes or a suppressed immune system, the risk of infection may be higher. If you had a surgery in the scrotum in the past, healing may take more time.
Care during recovery
- The bandages will remain for a few days and then be taken off.
- Keep the area away from water. Avoid bath or shower for a few days, until the sutures heal. Contact with water may lead to infection.
- If you have any liquid coming out of the area or if the bandages get wet, check with your doctor for possible infection.
- Follow prescription medicines without fail.
- The scrotum will need support for a couple of weeks until it gets adjusted to the foreign body.
- Pain and discomfort is common and it should subside in a couple of days. Pain medication may be given if you are not able to bear it.
- Avoid bending forward or coughing or laughing as much as possible.