Purpose: No specific cause is identified in most cases of chronic orchialgia. Nonsurgical therapies, including management at a chronic pain clinic, are generally recommended. Only when multiple conservative measures fail are patients offered surgical intervention, such as orchiectomy. We evaluate laparoscopic testicular denervation as an organ preserving and minimally invasive surgical alternative. Materials and Methods: Since 1993, 9 patients with chronic orchialgia have undergone transperitoneal laparoscopic testicular denervation after nonsurgical modalities failed. Using 1, 10 mm. and 1 or 2, 5 mm. ports, the gonadal vessels were isolated circumferentially and divided cephalad to the vas deferens and its vasculature. Preoperative treatment modalities, morbidity and outcome were documented. A cord block provided temporary relief in all 9 patients. Analog scales were used to assess long-term pain relief (0 no pain to 100 worst pain) and activity levels (0 bedrest to 100 no restrictions). Results: Average symptom duration before laparoscopic testicular denervation was 4.1 years. Of 9 patients 8 had undergone prior scrotal surgery. Failed nonsurgical modalities included anti- inflammatory drugs in 7 patients, antibiotics in 6, pain clinic consultations in 4 and antidepressant medications in 2. Mean pain score decreased from 69.4 (range 35 to 90) preoperatively to 30.6 at a mean followup of 25.1 months. Excluding the 2 cases that had no pain relief (less than 10-point reduction), average pain score decreased from 69 to 19 postoperatively (mean reduction 71%). Activity levels improved in all cases. There were no significant complications, including testis atrophy. One patient who had no pain relief underwent subsequent hydrocelectomy for pain, which also failed. Conclusions: Laparoscopic testicular denervation can provide significant long-term pain relief and appears to be a reasonable alternative in select cases with chronic orchialgia refractory to medical therapy. Larger series and prospective evaluations are necessary.
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