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Testicular implants

Testicular Implants: Types and The Surgical Procedure

The loss or absence of a testicle may lead to negative psychological repercussions and for that reason medical research has developed testicular implants, also known as testicular prostheses, to improve the body image and satisfaction of male patients.

The procedure that involves the implantation of testicles is denominated testicular plastic surgery and it is appropriate for children who suffer from two congenital conditions:

  • Undescended testicles
  • Torsion of the testicles

For adults, traumatic injuries and testicular cancer, which may require testicle removal, are severe conditions that may call for testicular implants.

Types of Testicular Implants

Three types are available, but only one has received approval from the FDA.

  • Coloplast Saline Filled Testicular Prosthesis – It is an implant with the same weight, softness and shape as a testicle. Comes in four sizes and is made of molded silicone elastomer, non-X-ray visible and approved by the FDA.
  • Coloplast Soft-Solid Testicular Prosthesis – It is not available in the U.S. Comes in five sizes, intended for cosmetic testicular replacement to aid the restoration of physical appearance.
  • Sientra’s Silicone Elastomer Implant – This type is chemically and mechanically resistant, has a thin, soft and smooth surface, safe and usually well tolerated by the body.

The Testicular Plastic Surgery

Being an elective surgery, in the preparatory phase doctors make sure the patient is in good health condition. All health problems should be discussed with the surgeon during the consultations. Medications and herbal supplements should be suspended as advised by the doctor. Medical history, lab tests and complete examination are usually performed a week before the surgical procedure.

Testicular plastic surgery is an outpatient procedure. It takes around 30 and 60 minutes, with local anesthetic and just one tiny incision made to insert the implant.

Among the side effects, body rejection is the most common one. For that matter, biocompatibility of the materials is developed continuously in order to provide a better blending possibility for the body. In that way, the silicone used in testicular implants can interact with the natural tissue without a harmful response.

Some alternatives to the implantation of testicular prosthesis are:

  • No treatment – which leaves a partially empty scrotum
  • Subcapsular orchiectomy – which removes the testicle tissue and the capsule is left in the scrotum.

Considering the potential risks of testicular implants, there are those concerning surgery and general anesthesia such as bleeding, infection and reaction to medication. As for those related to the testicular prosthesis, complications may be:

  • Untreated cancer
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Fluid collection
  • Hematoma formation
  • Bleeding

Among the risks related to silicone prostheses, we find:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Systemic lupus
  • Erythermatosus

Most of these risks tend to decrease due to technological advances in the materials used for the prostheses.