Removal of the lymph nodes is called lymphadectomy or ‘retroperitoneal lymph node dissection’ (RPLND). This surgery is considered if you have a high risk of cancer spreading. It might also be performed to remove any cancer that remains after chemotherapy.

Lymph nodes can be removed during surgery through an open cut in the body or using instrument placed through small incisions to see inside the body (laparoscopy). You will be asleep (general anaesthesia) during the operation.

Before you have your abdominal lymph nodes removed, talk to your surgeon about possible side effects. Your sex life can be affected by this surgery:

  • RPLND can cause your semen and sperm to go backward into your bladder instead of coming out of your penis (retrograde ejaculation). Your orgasms will feel different because they will be dry. Medication helps sometimes, but you might not be able to have children by natural sexual intercourse.
  • RPLND can cause nerve damage that can make you lose the ability to have erections.