It was at Children's Hospital in Seattle, and I have to give them props. Everyone was very kind to us and DS, and very gentle with him, and the doctors explained everything to us without condescension. The whole team introduced themselves before the surgery and told us their roles. Also, no one touched his foreskin -- hooray! During surgery, I was directed to a dedicated pumping room I could use to help with how swollen with milk I was. And when DS came out of surgery, they left us alone in a darkened room to breastfeed for hours while DS napped and fully awakened from the anesthesia. Seriously, they didn't bother us once -- very nice.
The one thing I really didn't appreciate was the overly restrictive guidelines regarding fasting from breastmilk before surgery -- 8 hours. Since that's way over the recommended time from the Am. Society of Anesth., I went ahead and followed the ASA's guidelines instead, not that I'm recommending that for anyone else. I'm planning to write the hospital a thank-you letter that includes a request to change their bm guidelines on npo.
The surgeon made two small incisions, one in the bellybutton and one in the scrotum. They're barely noticeable, particularly the bellybutton one. DS had no second testicle -- the surgeon said that the blood supply had been cut off to it at some point (he theorized that it was during birth), and so it never developed past a little smear of tissue, which he scraped out of the scrotum to send off for biopsy. We haven't heard back on that, so I'm assuming no news is good news, as expected.
So I have mixed feelings about it. In some ways, the surgery went a little easier than I'd feared, and I was pleasantly surprised by the hospital experience. But it seems a little pointless in retrospect -- there was no testicle to save, so DS could have put off the surgery, perhaps indefinitely, but of course we didn't know that. Could an ultrasound have told us that? I don't know. Was it better to do it now than later? Maybe. Would it have been better not to have done it at all and lived with not knowing? Probably not. But the fact is, he didn't have an undescended testicle -- he had a descended one that stopped developing. I don't know what the risk factors of cancer are for that vs. undescended, but I imagine they're smaller. This one theoretically wasn't (genetically) abnormal until some accident robbed it of blood supply. And he should still be fertile with the existing testicle.
The recovery was quick although somewhat intense, mostly due to trying to get DS to take pain medication. He's not big on solids or swallowing liquids other than bm from the breast, and the pharmacy couldn't understand our desire for a suppository vs. liquid meds. We eventually mixed the overly sweetened meds into sherbet (very healthy, I know), and when he was in a better mood, pureed prunes and applesauce. It was seriously like pilling a cat otherwise. Screaming, thrashing head, red dye everywhere.
After a couple days, we stopped bothering with the pain meds during the day and used them only at night a few more times if he seemed to be having trouble sleeping through the pain. He was scootching around the day of the surgery. The incision sites healed quickly with minimal oozing and crusting, and the stitches dissolved on their own. We put the prescribed antibiotic ointment on for the first couple weeks or so a few times a day.
We go back for a post-op check next week, so I can let you know if we learn anything different there. But I just thought I'd post in case other people were curious about the procedure. Hope your situation goes/has gone smoothly, *Karen*!
Hobo Mama • living on the beach with DP (Jun 98) and DS1 (Jun 07) and DS2 (May 11)
We have it scheduled for September. We went with the second opinion guy because we just really didn't like the first guy. I am trying to just not think about it too much right now!
Just got back from the surgery center with our 15 month old. He just had an orchiopexy and is now sleeping upstairs in his crib:) He seems to be doing well... he had no reaction to the anesthesia which was of course our biggest concern. He has two incisions... one on the lower abdomen (2 inches) and one on the side of his scrotum (1inch). They located the testicle... the canal was closed so they just opened the canal and brought it down. The testicle is perfectly healthy. We debated doing it as well but I think what pushed us to do it was that the chance of cancer later in life is higher if you leave it. Of course he may still get cancer, but this way we know we did everything we could to give him the best chance of fertility and hopefully a cancer free life. Feel free to check back with me if you have any questions:) Hope this helps and best wishes to you!
I keep wondering about the psychological aspect for the surgical patient as well -- is it easier to deal with and recover, the younger the baby? I would imagine so. A grade schooler who understands what's going on would be old enough to fear what's going on. A baby might be very fearful in the moment but then quickly forget.
Late to the thread but that's what I'm leaning towards if our DS needs it. My dh had the op done when he was about 3 and the memories of it still affect him a bit. I think the earlier you can have it done the better. I've badgered dh to write it up and hopefully get it out of his system, so if you want it from a little boy's perspective he's posted his story online.