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What is an Epididymectomy?

By Dulce Corazon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Epididymectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the epididymis, which is an essential part of the male reproductive system. The epididymis is a structure located inside the scrotum, which is attached to the posterior side of the testis, and is connected with the vas deferens, which in turn is connected with the urethra. The epididymis is important in the storage, maturation and transport of sperm. An epididymectomy is usually indicated for the treatment of chronic epididymitis, or the long-term inflammation of the epididymis, and for men with complex epididymal cystic disease.

Symptoms of epididymitis include pain in either one or both sides of the scrotum, usually lasting three months or more. The pain in the scrotum generally interferes with the performance of daily life activities. Chronic epididymitis is usually associated with bacterial infections, obstruction of the vas deferens, abnormalities of the lower urinary tract at birth, or as an occurrence after a vasectomy, which is a surgical procedure done by cutting or binding the vas deferens. Broad-spectrum antibiotics are often given to patients with chronic epididymitis. The presence of pus or abscess in the scrotum, however, generally requires surgery to protect the testicles from further inflammation.

Medical doctors who specialize in the field of urology are commonly responsible for the diagnosis, treatment and management of disorders affecting the male reproductive system. These healthcare professionals also typically perform epididymectomy surgeries to relieve the symptoms of pain presented by patients with chronic epididymitis and other associated conditions. This surgery is often a last recourse after many conservative treatments, such as the use of antibiotics and analgesics, have been attempted.

There are many variations in technique, and the one a surgeon chooses frequently depends on the patient's condition. The medical procedure is generally done under local anesthesia. A transverse incision is usually made on the scrotal sac, just large enough for the urologist to see the vas deferens, testis and epididymis, and to allow the surgical removal of the epididymis and drainage of pus in the scrotum. After the procedure, patients are usually sent home with medications and general instructions on proper care.

Burning and presence of blood during urination may occur after surgery, but usually will resolve within three days. Other complications can include skin infection, chronic pain and infertility. Atrophy, or reduction in the size, of the testicles may also result if the spermatic cord is injured during the dissection process.

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Discussion Comments
By anon1003575 — On Jul 25, 2020

I had an epididymectomy 2 months ago and a vasectomy maybe 20 years ago. Three years ago, I started having pain after ejaculation. It got worse and worse. I had an ultrasound and different drugs. The last resort was an epididymectomy. It is a long recovery. At this point I have had pain for about 12 hours after ejaculation instead of 3 weeks of pain. I am glad I had it done and it is getting better. It worked for me.

By anon995013 — On Mar 24, 2016

Following a testicular injury I was given a vasectomy 24 years ago. I have suffered more that a dozen incidents of testicle pain which are almost always treated with antibiotics. Your body will develop resistance to these over the years.

I now have an epididymis cyst with a spermatocele behind it, causing discomfort. My urologist is recommending opening me up for the fourth time for a Epididymectomy and spermatocelectomy. the question I can seem to get answered convincingly is What effect will this have on my sex life? Will I still be able to ejaculate?

Given that I have been shooting blanks for so long, sperm are not important.

By anon991762 — On Jul 16, 2015

I had a vasectomy 14 years ago. I had some pain for years, which eventually led to me having an Epididymectomy this month. So far I feel OK. I would, however, recommend a vasectomy because the thought of having more kids (which I absolutely love my kids) is more painful.

By anon334975 — On May 17, 2013

I was told there would be no pain -- just a few days of discomfort. Well, after the vasectomy it took like two months for me just to start feeling normal, but the pain never went away, so I went back to the doc a few times. On my last visit, I was referred to another doc. About 30 percent of vasectomies go wrong, so in the medical world, it is an acceptable risk.

The next day I was in the operating room for surgery to prevent a blow out and maybe lose the testicle. I had pain and a blue, swollen scrotum like an eggplant. I can only hope the pain will be over soon and my testicles will be safe. I don't want to do hormone therapy for the rest of my life that ends up destroying you liver and kidneys.

Medical statistics are wrong and never apply to an individual, as your body response is as different as our personality from the next guy.

So now I am sterile and after losing two kids and my wife, I have one son left. Thank God for him. I am looking at a new family. I can't give her a child of her own. Maybe I can have a normal sex life after recovery.

In general, there are not a lot of happy vasectomy victims I know and I know a few. Two of the eight are happy and recovery took about a year.

The picture starts to change a lot of guys. Just suck it up and hope it goes away so the doc will check you as a no problem case and will tell you there is a 98 percent guarantee of no problems, little discomfort and you are home free. They just can't wait to scrub in for an extra surgery at your expense.

Yes, the docs help, but never told me about all the complications. He made it sound like I was going to a day spa.

By anon250132 — On Feb 24, 2012

I had a vasectomy about five years ago. Within the last four months, my wife found a knot on my right testicle. The next day it was gone and I was in pain. It was a cyst that had developed and I ended up with a "blowout".

I went through three months and had all treatments available. Two weeks ago, after nine urologist opinions I agreed to have the epididymectomy. It has not fixed the problem and I am suffering tremendous pain. Sperm will sometimes just drop out of the testicle into the scrotum and cause a burning sensation like getting a shot. I am still looking for another way to solve this problem. Do not ever get a vasectomy.

By anon220466 — On Oct 07, 2011

Never ever ever get a Vasectomy procedure done. It can ruin your life. It took me nearly two years to get rid off the constant pain. I eventually had surgery to relieve to relieve the post vasectomy. I was in constant, awful pain and I was incredibly lucky it worked. You have been warned. Stay away from the vasectomy.

By otatop — On May 26, 2011

@anon158674- I feel your pain! I developed epididymitis following a vasectomy. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to have surgery. It was treated with antibiotics. But finding out what was wrong was an ordeal in and of itself.

The urologist told me the pain I was in was normal post-vasectomy pain. When it didn't get any better and I started running a fever they took my complaints seriously.

By anon158674 — On Mar 08, 2011

I had this procedure after a vasectomy caused pressure to build up in the epididymis resulting in rupture.

The other epididymis was swollen but the pressure was released via surgery {vasectomy} before rupture occur. I had many problems after this surgery including Neuroma, varicocele, and hydrosele.

The varicocele is just so painful it completely rules out sex. Vasectomy and in particular, an Epididymectomy carry disastrous outcomes to some males, be informed and not complacent and pick a good surgeon!

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