After losing a testicle (or two), due to cancer, infection, injury or torsion, do you consider getting testicle implants? What if you are a trans-man? According to our documentary subjects, the opinions vary and are split down the middle.
To replace, or not to replace. This is the question.
In the case of Matt Perry, who lost his testicle to testicular torsion, he has no interest in replacing the excided ball with a testicle implants. Now in his fifties, Matt had his ball removed in his early twenties because the twisted testicle had cut off all blood supply to his left nut rendering it dead. Not only is testicular torsion a medical emergency but it is also very difficult to diagnose. If the diagnosis and “un-twisting” is not made within the first 8 hours, the testicle will likely be lost.
Matt’s trauma of undergoing an orchiectomy over 25 years ago is so great, that the thought of having to undergo surgery once again to have testicle implants is even further traumatizing. Besides, he is much older now and in a long-term committed relationship with a partner who is comfortable and supportive of Matt’s body. Matt jokes, “If you could click your fingers and have testicle implants with no effort required, I would probably do that”. Sadly, it is not that simple.
Siavash, on the other hand, who also lost a testicle to torsion in more recent years, is definitely considering re-balancing his body with testicle implants. As a younger man in his late twenties, he would like his body to look more symmetrical. At the moment, he is researching clinics and doctors.
For Peter Bovolaneas, who lost both testicles to cancer, it was a no brainer. He was thankful for the modern day medical technology and elected to get 2 prosthetic testicle implants. Peter is a remarkable human being who has such a great sense of humor and amazing coping skills.
Sometimes when he is out at the bars, he will approach acquaintances (who do not know his testicular history) and ask them to flick his balls. If he doesn’t flinch, they buy him a drink; if Peter flinches, he buys the drink. It’s a win-win situation for tipsy Peter, leaving the “flicker” scratching his or her head.
It should also be noted that Peter, who presents as a VERY masculine/muscular man, can no longer produce testosterone because both testicles were removed due to cancer. Because of this fact, Peter must inject himself with testosterone every 2 weeks to maintain sex drive, bone mass, muscle mass and mental health. He humorously accepts this shot in the buttocks as his “pain in the ass”.
Peter takes testosterone because without biologically intact testicles, as a man he needs it. This is different than when men with functioning testicles take testosterone for purely aesthetic reasons.
The decision to get testicle implants after the required removal of one or both balls really comes down to choice and comfort. And as Maggie Cassella jokes, “I’m not going to judge a guy for getting a fake ball any more than I’m going to judge a woman for getting a fake boob. It’s your choice and we have the technology!”
Different sizes of testicle implants are measured against the patient’s real testicles to get as close a match as possible.
There are different types of prosthetic testicle implants. The ultimate goal is to match the prosthetic as much as possible to the remaining, natural testicle. Testicular prostheses are made of silicone gel or saline (salt water) with a silicone rubber covering. The surgeon makes a small incision in the lower groin where the prosthesis is inserted and then placed in the empty scrotum and secured with a stitch, or suture. You can usually go home the same day of the surgery. Often testicular prosthesis surgery can be done at the same time as the orchiectomy, or during a later surgery. It all depends on what the patient wants.
As a trans-man, Carey is not interested in getting prosthetic testicle implants. His genitals do not define his masculinity, though he jokingly claims to have “psychic balls”. Interestingly enough, once Carey started to take testosterone, his genitals started to change. His clitoris and labia started to grow, so much so that he often feels as though he has a penis and balls.