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Testicular Implants

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Updated August 29, 2006

Testicular implants have been carried out since the early 1940s. Various materials have been used including glass, polyethylene, silicone, dacron and vitallium alloy, to name just a few. In 1976 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) became involved in regulating implant materials and reviewing their safety. Currently, the FDA have approved only one type of material for testicular implantation.

Reasons for testicular implant
There are a number of reasons why a testicular implant is considered, these include:

  • Adults and children with undescended testicles

  • Children and adult males with torsion of a testicle or testicles.

  • Following a traumatic injury to the testicles

  • Following testicular cancer

  • Men that have very small and/or deformed and/or a nonfunctioning testicle or testicles may choose to have a testicular implant
  • Testicular implants can create a normal cosmetic appearance of testicles and give a man or a child confidence.

    Types of testicular implants
    There are three types of implants currently available. Only one, a saline filled testicular implant has received approval from The Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

    Are testicular implants always appropriate?
    Not everyone is suitable for a testicular implant. Men with untreated cancer, infection, following radiotherapy or some forms of trauma would be discounted.

    Post-operative complication from testicular implant
    As with any surgical procedure there may be post-operative complications. The most common is infection. Other complications include hematoma (blood loss into the surrounding tissue) and poor wound healing. Side effects of anesthesia, although rare can be very serious.

    Testicular implants can often be carried out by medical staff on a day patient basis.

    Testicular implants patient satisfaction research
    In October 2001 researchers J. Adshead, B. Khoubehi, J. Wood and G. Rustin sent a questionnaire to 424 patients who had their testicles removed. Of these 71 men had a testicular implant. Nineteen men were dissatisfied with the cosmetic result feeling they had only an average or poor cosmetic result from the implant.

    Another patient satisfaction study by Girsdansky and Newman found that 1 in 30 patients required further surgery within a year of the implant mostly to remove the testicular implant for extrusion. One per cent experienced infection at the operation site, 10% experienced pain and or discomfort, 3% had temporary swelling, 2% experienced extrusion of the implant, and in 2% the implant moved or became displaced.

    Article Sources
    J. Adshead, B. Khoubehi, J. Wood, G. Rustin. Testicular implants and patient satisfaction: a questionnaire-based study of men after orchidectomy for testicular cancer. BJU International Volume 88 Issue 6 Page 559. October 2001

    Girsdansky J, Newman HF. Use of a vitallium testicular implant, Am J Surg,53:514, 1941; First report of a testicular implant Bukowski, TP, “Testicular Prostheses”, Chapter 8 in “Urologic Prostheses: The Complete Practical Guide to Devices, Their Implantation, and Patient Follow up, Culley C. Carson III, MD editor, Humana Press, Totowa, New Jersey, 2002

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