Definition

A hydrocelectomy is a procedure to correct a hydrocele. A hydrocele is a build-up of fluid in the membrane that surrounds the testicle.

Male Anatomy
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Reasons for Procedure

Hydroceles will often go away with time or treatment of cause. A hydrocelectomy may be considered if the hydrocele:

  • Is not getting better as expected or develops in child after first year of life
  • Is large enough to threaten blood supply to the testicles
  • Causes discomfort or affects walking
  • Is linked to a hernia
  • Comes back after treatment

Possible Complications

Potential problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will review possible problems like:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Testicular injury
  • Nerve injury
  • Hydrocele comes back
  • Infertility

Adolescents and adults can take steps to lower the risk of problems from the procedure such as:

  • Quit smoking
  • Do not drink alcohol around the time of your surgery.
  • Follow care plan for chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity.

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The doctor will review tests to prepare for surgery. You may be asked to have a physical exam with a primary doctor.

Before the surgery:

  • Arrange for a ride home.
  • Let the doctor know what medicines you are taking. Some medicine may need to be stopped up to a week before the procedure.
  • Avoid food or drink after midnight prior to the procedure.
  • Let the care team know about any allergies.

Anesthesia

General anesthesia is used. You will be asleep during the procedure.

Description of Procedure

An incision is made in either the groin crease or the scrotum. This will allow access to the hydrocele and the channel that carries fluid from the belly. Fluid is drained from the area. A part or all of the hydrocele sac will be removed. Any damage of the canal between the belly and the scrotum will be repaired. A temporary drain may be placed in the skin to prevent a build-up of fluids or infection.

The incision in the skin will then be closed with stitches. A waterproof dressing may be applied to the incision.

How Long Will It Take?

Less than one hour

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. The scrotum may be sore for a few days after surgery. Pain and discomfort can be managed with medicine.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

Vital signs will be monitored in a recovery room. Medicine will also be given to manage pain.

At Home

Some activity will need to be restricted for 2 to 4 weeks.

Call Your Doctor

It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:

  • Signs of infection, including fever or chills
  • Excessive bleeding from the incision site
  • The incision area opens up
  • Changes in redness, discharge, pain, or drainage
  • Swelling of scrotum gets worse
  • Pain that cannot be controlled with medications you were given
  • New or unexpected symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.

RESOURCES:

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
https://www.healthychildren.org

Urology Care Foundation
http://www.urologyhealth.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Urological Association
http://www.cua.org

The College of Family Physicians of Canada
http://www.cfpc.ca

REFERENCES:

Hydrocele. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/hydrocele/overview. Accessed September 17, 2020.

Hydrocele. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at: http://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/hydrocele#.VUpECI5Viko. Accessed September 17, 2020.

Hydrocele. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/doctor/hydrocele. Accessed September 17, 2020.

Hydrocele in adolescents and adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116012/Hydrocele-in-adults-and-adolescents. Accessed September 17, 2020.

Hydrocele in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T913127/Hydrocele-in-infants-and-children. Accessed September 17, 2020.

Hydrocelectomy. Surgery Encyclopedia website. Available at: http://www.surgeryencyclopedia.com/Fi-La/Hydrocelectomy.html. Accessed September 17, 2020.

Last reviewed September 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD  Last Updated: 9/17/2020