Q: Dr. Eppley, Apologies if this is a strange question but I will be travelling quite frequently via airport and I just want to consider any issues that may arise. I have a solid silicone elastomer testicle implant. Given this is a solid material is there any chance of this implant could create an anomaly during a body/xray scan? Or even metal detectors? As I know some forms of silicone are metal detectable. I wouldn’t want to be pulled aside for a body search because my implant would be picked up by the body scans.
A: There are no concerns with having a testicle implant being detected by body scans at the airport. Silicone is an invisible material by radiographic examination. It is non-metallic and is a pure element (#14 on the Periodic Table) of which it is not ‘seen’ by standard x-ray images. It would be detectable by CT and MRI scans but these are not what the airports use for body scanning. Also I know of no forms of silicone that are metal detectable unless they actually contain metal.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, A few weeks ago I had a saline filled testicular implant. While the surgery went successfully, I am very unhappy because the size is about half the size of my opposite natural testicle. I saw on your website that you use a silicone implant that is more customizable, would it be an option that I could have the implant changed? Also I live in California, but would be willing to travel to you if it was practical, whats generally the amount of visits and time between consult and surgery with this type of procedure?
A: Provided your scrotal skin can stretch to accommodate a larger size, I see no reason that an immediate or delayed implant exchange can not be done. It would be important to know what the size of the opposite testicle is by measurements as perhaps the current problem is because no specific sizing method was done. But your original implant efforts are not lost as, at the least, it has served to stretch out the scrotal skin.
While it is true that silicone testicle implants can be custom carved that is not usually necessary. With the largest silicone testicle implant being of the dimensions of 4.5 x 3.0 cms in size, that would be big enough for just about any man.
The surgery can simply be planned from afar. I would just need to know the current size (volume filled) of your current testicle implant. You could just come in for the surgery and any followup ‘visits’ would be done by Skype or email. For far away patients I have to be very practical about the patient’s travel issues. There is nothing one can not show me on a picture or Skype that would be unclear to me.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in possibly getting a testicle implant. I had an undescended testes removed at five years of age. I am 26 years old now and figured I would at least explore the option. I am interested in the details of the procedure, the risks and recovery period. I hear it is relatively minor procedure so I would like to know more.
A: Testicle implants are made of either soft solid silicone material (soft spongy ball so to speak) or a saline-filled small bag. Either way, they are placed through a small scrotal incision in an outpatient procedure under anesthesia. One should expect some swelling for a week or so, awareness of the procedure having been done for three weeks and avoiding any sexual activity for up to a month after surgery. The risks of the procedure is that of infection which has a very small rate of occurrence. (1% to 3%)
Dr. Barry Eppley