An orchiectomy is surgery to remove one or more testicles. The testicles are the male reproductive organ and sit in the scrotum, below the penis. This surgery does not remove the scrotum, because the scrotal tissue may be used to form the vaginal lining if the patient is considering a future vaginoplasty surgery. If there is not a plan for vaginoplasty, a scrotectomy can be performed instead. A scrotectomy is the complete removed of the scrotum and testicles.
The most common orchiectomy for transgender women is a bilateral orchiectomy, where both testicles are removed.
Who is a good candidate for an orchiectomy?
If you are planning on vaginoplasty surgery, an orchiectomy is likely the first step in the process. There are some instances in which the orchiectomy can be performed at the same time as the vaginoplasty. It is also common for these procedures to be spaced out over time.
Orchiectomy surgery can also be an option for transgender women who react poorly to feminizing hormones. By removing the testicles, the body can no longer produce endogenous testosterone, which reduces the amount of feminizing hormone needed.
What should I expect during surgery?
The procedure will take approximately 45 minutes. In some cases, a local anesthesia will be used to numb the region, or your doctor may choose general anesthesia. Your surgeon will cut the middle of the scrotum and remove the testes. The incision will then be closed with sutures. In most cases, you will leave the hospital the same day.
What about recovery?
Post op recovery will typically last a few days, and you will likely be prescribed pain medication for discomfort, and antibiotics to prevent infection.