The Testicular Cancer Resource Center

The TCRC Testicular Implants Page


The TCRC does not recommend getting testicular implants for cosmetic reasons. However, we realize this is a very personal decision, and this information is provided to help you make your OWN choice.

Please keep in mind that testicular implants are medical devices, and their use is often regulated by local laws. Testicular implants were not available in the USA from roughly 1992 through 2003 because of potential issues with the silicone gel used inside of them. However, these types of implants, as well as others using silicone elastomer, have been and continue to be available elsewhere in the world. Recently the United States FDA has approved the use of saline filled testicular implants in the USA. These saline filled implants may or may not be available outside of the USA, depending on the marketing decisions of their manufacturer.

The Mentor Corporation has received FDA approval for their saline filled testicular implant! The Mentor website contains a lot of information on the subject for both the patient and the physician. If you are thinking of an implant, I strongly advise you to review their entire site before making a final decision. Click HERE to see a picture of the Mentor SFTP.

Additionally, Mentor is now enrolling patients in a new study on the Mentor Soft-Solid Testicular Prosthesis (SSTP). This is a testicular implant that is filled with highly cross-linked silicone. The difference between this new device and the approved saline testicular implant include a different feel and a wider range of sizes. They currently have five sites approved to implant these devices. If you are in the USA and are interested in more information, please contact Cliff Kline, Director, Clinical Submissions, at 805-879-6413.

For more information on sources for testicular implants, check out the TCRC Implant Links Page

For more information on the details of having a testicular implant "installed" take a look at this personal story.


Deep Thoughts on Testicular Implants

As we mentioned before, the subject of testicular implants comes up frequently. We have gone through our old mail searching for comments that might help you decide if implants are for you. Note: We've attempted to be unbiased in selecting these thoughts, it's just that most of the comments we have received are "Against".

Not me sir. I wouldn't have a lump of rubber swinging around down there for all the tea in China :)

- Nick

I was asked, 9 years ago, if I wanted an implant. I was told if I declined, that they could put one in at a later date. I declined. Now in retrospect I have these thoughts, some of which I did not think through or about prior to the Orch.

    1. In one sense this is akin to a women having a breast removed. It is part of us, and some may define their sexuality in terms of its presence. I do not.

    2. Even if I did, it is not the same as most women's breasts in that the absence is not noticeable when fully clothed.

    3. Now that I can see the difference, it is not noticeable even when unclothed. The normal testicle is not that large and the scrotum is bulky enough to hide the fact that something is different. The only real way to discover that it is gone is to feel it.

    4. During our intimate moments (man and wife) it is not as noticeable as it would be for an absent breast. When I said in point 3 that you have to feel it, that is a definite purposeful act, not the same as during an intimate romantic adventure.

    5. It is not enough weight difference to cause any real problem as it would for a women who had a medium or larger sized breast removed.

- Keith

The lack of a testicle has never been a big issue to my wife, and I doubt most women would prefer to be with (in the Biblical sense) a man with a plastic testicle vs. no testicle.

Personally (and others are probably different) if I had an implant it would (at some level) be an attempt to ignore or push down my feelings regarding TC. I would rather have the occasional reminder that I have survived cancer. Personally, I think it's somewhat cathartic being a uni-baller.

Some additional thoughts...

    1) All men are shaped differently. For some men, it might be more noticeable physically.

    2) For men in a committed relationship, and for men who don't have casual sex, I still strongly believe this should be a non-issue, but

    3) I could understand, however, why a man might not want to explain this to a potential sack-mate with whom he is not that close. Not the sort of news that puts a person in the "mood." For me, this wasn't an issue because: (a) I was married; (b) My personal shape makes it less than obvious; (c) by belief system and personality I wouldn't sleep with a woman with whom I couldn't discuss my TC; (d) I'd rather not have a potential lawsuit inside my body.

Not everyone is like me, however, and that's a good thing. I could understand, and support, a man opting for the implant if his orchiectomy was physically obvious, his views on sexuality differed from mine, and he understood the risks involved.

- Roy

My urologist never even brought up the question of "installing" an implant. In fact, I did not even think about the issue until one of my friends asked me if I had gotten one. I would certainly never get one that had silicone in it; I saw a show about some women who had leaky breast implants - they were not in good shape at all. I think I heard something about saline implants being used in breasts, but that still means something foreign is being placed in the body.

Anyway, my jeans don't pinch in the crotch like they used to :-)

- Mark

Honestly, I *never* think about it when I'm in bed (or elsewhere ;-)) with Jean-Marie. And even when he's unclothed, you can't see it. As somebody said, you have to purposely feel it to know. To me (as a girlfriend), that part of TC is a non-problem, really. I know that for Jean-Marie, it is too.

- Nathalie

To me I never even thought about an implant until mentioned on this site. I guess for me it really wasn't a problem. Clothed or unclothed it is difficult to tell and so I go on not really worrying about it.

- John

The lack of a testicle is not an issue to a woman if she loves the man she is with.

- Lynette

I have an implant and am not ashamed about it at all. I would probably guess this is more important to the younger and single guys. After you are married, I guess physical features aren't as important.

What type of implant I got... I dunno, it's written on a piece of paper somewhere around my house. I've had it for 3 years and counting. The procedure was simple, slice, insert, close up, all finished. Out of the 5 surgeries I've had, I healed the quickest on this one. I want to say after about 7 days I was walking fine, although that week was pretty hellish.

- Rudy

One doc actually recommended it to me, saying I would walk more balanced. (Ha Ha Ha!!)

Personally, I never saw any benefit to it and three years post-orch, I still don't have any interest in it. It is simply cosmetic, and not something generally seen by anyone else. Deciding it would be do nothing to help my psyche, I passed on it.

- Bruce

I got a prosthesis during my right orchiectomy in February, and followed on with RPLND and chemotherapy with no ill effects.

Someone made a comment about the "spongy feel" not being important, and I would beg to differ. Although the shape and size of my implant are correct, the feel to me is a bit disconcerting. It is considerably harder than a normal (i.e. my other, real) testicle, and reminds me of the original tumor. If I had to choose again I'd go nutless. I am NOT worried about the silicone, however, and again have experienced no other problems. As goofy as this sounds, I would demand to see and feel a sample before making this kind of choice if I had to do it again!

- Chris

I had silicone implants "installed" over twenty-two years ago and never have had any problems.

- Dave

My Doctor's office procured 2 testicular implants--adult/large and youth/large. They had me up there for a 'fitting,' which was quite humorous to me (of course, I'm an adult large!), but less so to them.

- Steve

My boyfriend had testicular cancer in August. His present problem is mainly a mental thing at the moment. He does not feel complete and feels like he is different now and can not come to terms with his testicle being gone. I am a nurse and do not think he looks different, and I don't think it is real noticeable, but he is really having a hard time with it. He wants an implant and I think if he (or any other guys) feels that it will make him feel better about himself, then he should pursue it.

- Debbie
 

I do not have one, nor do I want one. Of course, I was already married when I had TC, and I've still got one left. If I were single at the time, I might have considered it. But, now I don't think even that should make a big difference. I really can't remember what it is like to have two.

- Doug

I don't think it was offered to me before my IO, but I'm sure I don't want one. I don't like the idea of sticking foreign objects into my body, much less unnecessary surgery.

As for the dating angle, I can't say I'd be interested in dating someone who'd be shallow enough to reject me because of something as superficial as having one nut. ...and this from a guy who's still single and dating.

- Brad

I have had an implant (probably silicone) since 1979. It was put in during my 2nd orchiectomy. (I'm a TC2-er). I've never had a problem with it and it feels quite normal. If I had been given the option in '70 when they removed #1, I would have taken it too. One of the few advantages is that it hurts a lot less when you get kicked in the literal balls, not that I care to experience it either way. In terms of aesthetics and relationships, I think it is MUCH more of an issue for men than for their partners. I certainly am more aware of it than my wife, and I appreciate its feeling of normalcy even if I know it's just a plastic jellybean.

- Manuel

After first hearing about the TC my initial reaction was to find out ASAP if I could have an implant. The Doc said he would put one in if I could find one, and being young and unmarried I was having a hard time imagining what I would look like without one and thought that a replacement would be a good idea. Long and short of it was that it was a moot point anyway. I was unable to locate any implants in the US. Now that I am one, it doesn't bother me so much, and I have a hard time identifying it's absence. It doesn't bother my girlfriend either.

- Peter

I'm glad I didn't get an implant. My remaining boy has lots of room to move around now. Also, on a recent vacation, I just got lucky with a woman, and I think telling her that I had only one ball helped me (made her VERY interested).

- Anonymous

I am a 23 yr old college student. I had an orchiectomy in 1998, although after the pathology report I found out that the cancer diagnosis was incorrect. Ouch!! Anyway, although my plumbing still worked I was not happy with the appearance of just one nut. I decided to get into the Mentor study group for their saline filled testicular prosthesis. It has been about a year since I received the implant and it has made a world of difference.

- Marc

No deep thoughts. Just my two cents about "replacement". When I first had my surgery, I felt very aware of just having one testicle. However with time and the return of a healthy amount of hair in that area after my radiation treatment, I adjusted psychologically to having one testicle. A lot of hair goes a long way to making the loss a bit less obvious to me. I've been with my wife for twenty years and whether I have one or two testicles doesn't affect our love life. If I was single I might feel more sensitive about this issue, but not necessarily. On the other hand, though, if I lost my remaining testicle I imagine the adjustment would be more difficult. I think the important point for those first going through the surgery and treatments is that after the worst of the shock wears off and healing physically and mentally takes place, it's possible to feel more at peace with this traumatic change.

- Mark

In my never humble opinion most women don't care how many testicles you have in any type of esthetic sense. Part of Ian's 3rd surgery was a scrotum resection to try to compensate for his second botched surgery and the doctor and my hubby were really concerned about how everything looked. I'm not talking mutilation but how "pretty" it was. I finally told them that most women didn't think a perfectly normal pair were really "pretty" either. Hopefully a woman knows you well enough by the time she gets a good look at them that its not an issue. :-)

- Lorena

My feelings on the prosthetic come from a slightly different angle than most, as I am a TC'2er. As a member of the "flat baggers" club, I get the sensation that no major changes have really taken place. In other words appearance is much the same as with the original equipment, just not as full looking. On the other hand with members of the group that have a remaining testes I fully understand that they would get a lopsided feeling or an appearance complex as a result of the missing part.

The best way I can put it is if you have hair on your chest you look normal you also look normal without hair on your chest but if only half your chest had hair it would stick-out like a sore thumb.....

- Gary

I don't think the issue is really about what our "significant" partners think regarding having one, two or no testicles for that matter. I believe it's all about self esteem, positive body image and just a general "good feeling" about your own body. Granted I was a single man when I got my implant but even now as a married man I would still get one regardless of what my wife's opinion is. I know my wife loves me regardless, she fell in love with what's in my heart not what's in between my legs ( I wish :-) I remember waking in recovery after my IO and was more scared at seeing myself for the first time missing a testicle. Call me neurotic, I don't care, but at a time when my mental state as well as physical was taking a battering the implant certainly helped me on the road to putting my life on track after the "bump" in the road.

- Sean

If you want one, get it! Anything that helps you start feeling like you are "returning to" your former body image is a good thing. Believe me, after two kids I still don't feel like I'm living in the body I was in for 28 years. I've only had this one for three, and I'm still not used to it! It's a very personal decision. Don't let your girlfriend or wife make it for you. Decide for yourself if it's important to you.

- Sarah

I was offered a prosthetic one for a nominal fee, however, I declined. Why would I want a fake one to bang around my one good one? Secondly, one less knife around that area the better. Besides, I am always coming up with new jokes: "I'm half nuts so watch out", "Wanna play with the bat and ball?", the wife says to her friends that I'm "all meat and one potato", etc.

- Jason

I have no idea about the psychological aspects of implants, but from a females view I have to say... in all my years, I have never, ever heard one woman say, "Wow he sure has a nice set of testicles!" or ANY comments on any mans testes... I have heard many, many women say he has great buns, or a great chest, or I love his strong arms, his beautiful eyes, great smile etc... but NEVER a comment on the "guys"!!

- Helen

My husband had his implant placed through the groin during the IO. It hung high for a long while and then did eventually drop into place but it took longer than the 6 weeks the doctor said it would take. However, they didn't size it 100% right so it's a little larger than the other one, AND it has this little bump on the back side where they stitched it in which is irritating. It always is in front of the other one and it's COLD! I know it was important for him to have it in but now after having it for 10 months I think he could take or leave it. Personally I'd rather not have it there. I don't like that it's cold, I don't like that it hangs in front of the real, soft WARM one and I don't like that bump in the back. Actually I stay away from it because I just don't like it. I like the real one.

- Kori

I got an implant because the doctor said it would be the same size and feel of a normal testicle. It is not. It is hard rubber and I regret having it put in. I have always wondered if I could have it easily removed or replaced with something more normal. Given the choice between the hard rubber implant and no implant, I would choose no implant.

- Tom
I had a silicone implant in 1980 which slowly leaked over time, culminating in a rupture three years ago, and I have been plagued with orthopedic and joint problems ever since. I would NEVER recommend getting a silicone implant to anyone. The concern over whether the silicone in my bloodstream is still harming me is not at all worth it.
- Wilson

I am a big advocate for testicular implants and have had mine now for 7 years. Before one gets one you have to really work out WHY you want it. For me I was still a young man when diagnosed with TC (27) and found myself extremely body conscious with only one testicle. So after a few visits with my Urologist and some research of my own including getting to hold, see, feel and touch an actual implant before going ahead with the procedure.

Mine was inserted via the scrotum and the scar from the incision is only marginal, actually blends in with the texture of the skin of the scrotum. Sure it feels different compared to my right one but anyone who thinks that it would feel the same is fooling themselves. Cold? Hell no, and I have never had a previous partner or my wife consider it cold to touch. To look at my scrotum you would be very hard pressed to tell which one was real and which wasn't but I consider that to be because I was "measured up", for want of a better expression, very well in relation to my remaining testicle. I have never had any chaffing and mine does float around very much like the other. As I said, you really need to work out why you want the implant. Spend some time discussing it with your Urologist and actually find one that has done the procedure before. If you go ahead with it and you decide that it's not for you, you can always have it removed. BTW, my implant, including the cost of it, as well as the surgery was completely covered by my Medical Insurance. I was not out of pocket one cent, there was "no gap". This was because I had lost the testicle to cancer.

- Sean
I have had an implant for many years and would do it again. I like the feel of being complete, and maybe it's the look of things as they are supposed to be. Some doctors have said, "why did you do it?" They feel like the real thing, almost. Guess it is psychological, but so what. To each his own. Go for it and don't back up if you want one.
- Doug
Having been diagnosed with testicular cancer while in the navy around 1987, I was treated for cancer and given an implant all at once while in the hospital. I opted for the implant, being young and having a fiance at the time, I thought it important to appear "normal". Not till many years later I have come to regret this decision due mainly to pain I felt while bending over one day to pick something up. A pain compared to that of someone yanking down on the testi. For some time I thought the implant had a tether and was somehow anchored down but a recent trip to the V.A. concluded that this was not the fact. They were puzzled as to what this abnormality was and plan to have surgery to determine exactly what it is. In short, those who are thinking about having a implant inserted, think again. My wife agree's that it does not matter to her at all and will love me just the same.
- Sean

I am 45 years old, in excellent health and in excellent physical condition. In 1984, I had a spermatocele repaired. Since that time, I had a great deal of sensitivity in my right testicle, increasing over the years. In the two years prior to my orchiectomy, the sensitivity continued to increase to the point that I had to be very cautious showering. I constantly "protected" the area. Any contact with the rear or top areas of the testicle caused a great deal of pain. My diagnosis was chronic epididymitis, with a cyst on the spermatic cord. My surgeon believes that the chronic epididymitis was caused by scar tissue and varicose veins which had formed as a result of the prior surgery, and the cyst. He was unable to repair the problem area, so he removed the testicle and performed the implant. He believed (and so do I) that this was the only way to ensure a pain-free future. Neither the ultrasound nor the pathology report (upon removal of the testicle) showed any cancer.

I am writing this three weeks after surgery. Ninety percent of the swelling and soreness have subsided. Most of the soreness now resides near the incision (at the top of the scrotum on the right side), and in the two areas where I believe he has sutured the implant to the scrotal wall. That soreness continues to subside. The surgeon views my progress as typical. I requested the implant. Whether or not anyone were to ever see my scrotum was irrelevant to me. I wanted to look "normal" when I looked in the mirror. This was important to me. When I touch the implant through the scrotum, it feels hard (relative to the sponginess of my left testicle). My scrotum, however, is beginning to look "normal" again. At this point, I am very pleased with the way that everything looks and feels. I have had a couple of orgasms in the last few days. Sexual sensitivity, semen volume and orgasm intensity are the same as they were prior to the surgery. I submit this in the hope that my information will help other men make the decision as to whether or not an implant is appropriate.

- Anonymous

I have been cancer free for two years and feel better than ever! I had a testicular implant a few months ago because of two main reasons: First my wife left me before I found I had a problem. I have no hang ups about this, but it is a fact! Secondly, whilst on the road to recovery I started to use the sports centre again and became very conscious of my single testicle. Now, I'm not a expert at viewing other men in the showers, but in my case my testicle hung very low, it does most of the time. Also, being in my late 30's and a free agent, I thought meeting new women and feeling a little bit low about myself (obviously) the choice was made for me!

It has helped my confidence no end, and I am happy that I am here to share these lines with you. I respect the thoughts of all of those that beg to differ with me... It is the right of each individual !!!!

- Andrew
I've had mine a year now and just love it. As crass as this may sound, I find I fidget with it more than the real one. I don't have to be as careful with it and it's not sensitive to rough handling or twisting. It's also easier to scratch on that side because I don't have to handle with care the same way I do on the other side. My equipment looks normal to the average outsider and if ever at a nudist colony, I could flick it without flinching as a bar trick and earn free drinks.

In all fairness I would recommend a prosthetic along with some upfront disclosures. It doesn't feel like a real testicle. It's hard and doesn't have the same give that a real one does. I have the saline-filled variety. I understand there's a softer silicone one available, but regardless of how similar to the real one it feels, it's not going to cause you to wince if it comes down wrong on the bicycle seat. It certainly won't produce sperm. It's fake.

Size matters. In addition to a doctor choosing size based on measurements of the other testicle, he should ask (or a patient should specify) whether the prosthetic should be slightly larger or slightly smaller than the real one. I never would have thought to outline my preference at the time, but I wish my doctor had asked me. Originally my right was smaller until it developed cancer. My doctor used a bigger prosthetic so now my left is smaller. Given the choice I would have opted for a slightly smaller implant so that my new set was more like the original. Of course I eventually got used to my new larger right testicle much the same way I eventually got used to the new Chrissy on Three's Company. People adapt to these things.

Though one might suspect otherwise, a prosthetic makes "manscaping" more difficult. I like my scrotum clean-shaven. The natural give that a real testicle has makes it flatten out just enough so the entire length of a razor blade can evenly glide across the scrotum while shaving. Because an artificial testicle doesn't give the same way, only a small portion of the blade makes contact with the skin and it's easier to knick oneself. In short, shaving over a real testicle is like shaving over your cheek while shaving over a fake one is more like shaving over your jawbone.

Gone are the days that we left body enhancement solely to the women folk. Now men color their hair. We whiten our teeth. Allow us the luxury of a fake nut.

- Kevin
I've had mine (saline) for about 2 years. My Doc told me pros and cons from people who had them, those who didn't, those that did and wish they didn't, and those that didn't but wish they did. I can't say that it is perfect, but it certainly looks natural. My Doc did a good job sizing compared to my natural, though the Fed Ex guy actually delivered mine during early morning surgery. It is tacked to the inside of the scrotum which does feel unatural at times. I also have realized that sometime a full set isn't all that. i.e. - cycling, just one more to move up and out. I am glad I chose to have it, though my wife supported me either way. One perk, my kids only hurt me half as much now. Also, my Doc was so proud of how the pair looked, he had my wife get at eye level to confirm how natural the prosthetics looked compared to the real one.
- Todd
I am surprised that so few men have them. I had both my testicles removed 40 years ago and wasn't asked if I wanted them or not. They automatically put in two oval rubber ones during the operation, which I have had without consequence for 40 years. They are too small and rock hard, but I really couldn't care less. When I was younger I didn't hear a single comment from a woman, and my wife of 30 years is quite used to them.
- Jules

Back in 1987 I unfortunately had a bi-lateral orchiectomy. The urologist at that time said that the materials that were being used at the time had a possibility of corroding and having to be removed. He recommended that I not have anything done at the time, but could opt for it much later if I wished when the availalbe choices were better. But I opted not have anything implanted and have not had any implants up to now.

At this point in my life, it is really not that important. I have found women to be most understanding, and it is not an issue with them. I have found women to be more understanding than us guys on this topic. In the beginning, I chose very carefully who to tell about my surgery. Women were very understanding. Some of the guys were so-so. Some would immediately change the subject. Others, would look rather shocked and say, "God, I couldn't go on like that." But the truth is that there is life after that and one can enjoy life. And chances are that we guys will live on to be very old men. Having implants installed is a very personal decision and only the person involved can make it. Perhaps for me it was easy not to have them since I did not have to explain over and over again to anyone or make any kind of excuses.

- Ray
I lost my right testicle during my infant years due to torsion. When I was in eighth grade my parents opted for the implant because I was into sports and getting ready for highschool. (Locker rooms) I'm now 23 years old, about to graduate college and I have mixed emotions about it. On one hand it does give me confidence as far as apperances go. But on the other hand, how much of your life is spent walking around the gym locker room? It's obvious to the touch that it's fake, so when intimate, I sometimes feel it would be easier to deal with if I had just good old leftie.
- Rob

I was one of those undescended testicle kids. As a kid I never got the jokes about "getting kicked in the balls"....since my reference was particularly singular. When I learned that boys were supposed to be plural I anxiously awaited the blossoming of any little bud into that second testicle. While playing flag football in seventh grade, a friend lunged for my flag and accidentally banged into my lower left a abdomen.....it felt like I had just been kicked in the ball. My friend had located my lost ball....and it was not moving into the scrotum by itself. When I was thirteen it was decided that I'd be going in to the hospital from some surgery. I remember walking up with a very complex structure between my legs that was constructed to convince that testicle that it had to stay in its new home. Oh the pain! Oh but I was a "Real Boy!"

This second testicle did not like its new home. As a teenager and young adult I was very active. I really liked cycling and I enjoyed racing.....but my l.t. didn't. The cord always complained. I endured in silence. When I got a little older and became sexually active, my l.t. complained. When I got married, my l.t. complained on a regular basis. In 1987, after becoming informed about the incidents of cancer in undescended testicular cases, I decided to have the testicle removed.

However, when I awoke from surgery, to my dismay, I was still plural. My doctor told that it was usual for patients of my age to have a cosmic testicle....and if there were any problems, it was easily removed. The implant was more of a pain than the original equipment. The implant adhered to the wall of the scrotum. I experienced continuous low grade pain. Occasionally the pain was severe, depending on my level of activity. In 1992 I had the damned implant removed! I am now comfortably singular. Since......my wife and I and our five year old son are doing fine.

I do not recommend implants......for any reason.

- Jeff
I was born without testicles. At age 7 I got a small set of implants. Then at 15 I got the "permanant larger set". I believe they are silicone. I never knew what it was like to have "real" ones. I am hugely in favor of implants at least for young, adolescent, and teenage boys. I couldn't imagine havin to walk into the showers or change in the locker rooms knowing I didnt have my "boys" with me, real or fake. I wouldn't do it. I'm nearly 20 and I haven't had any problems at all. Growing up, it sure helped my childhood and self esteem. Half the time I fofget they're fake. :)
- Brian


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