Font Size
A
A
A

Retroperitoneal Lymph Node Dissection


Topic Overview

Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (RPLND) is surgery often used to treat testicular cancer. It is done to remove lymph nodes that may be cancerous from the lower back and pelvis.

During the early phases of stage I nonseminoma testicular cancer, it can be very difficult to tell whether these lymph nodes are cancerous without surgically removing them first. For this reason, RPLND may be done even though there is no sign that the cancer has spread (metastasized) beyond the testes.

For many men, the greatest risk associated with RPLND may be sexual side effects. Besides the risks related to any major surgery, RPLND also may lead to a condition known as retrograde ejaculation as a result of nerve damage caused by the surgery. In retrograde ejaculation, the semen flows from the prostate gland into the bladderClick here to see an illustration. rather than through the penis and outside the body, resulting in infertility. Men who suffer from retrograde ejaculation typically do not have erection problems or difficulty enjoying sex.

Nerve-sparing surgery techniques can prevent retrograde ejaculation in most men who have this surgery.1

Try to find an experienced surgeon and a medical center where many surgeries are done for your kind of cancer. Experience can make a big difference. You will likely have fewer side effects, and you'll recover more quickly.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2010). Testicular Cancer, version 2. Available online: http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/PDF/testicular.pdf.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerChristopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology
Last RevisedJanuary 13, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.





Medical Dictionary