A hydrocelectomy is a procedure to correct a hydrocele. A hydrocele is a buildup of fluid in the membrane that surrounds the testicle.
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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
Potential problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will review possible problems like:
- Excessive bleeding
- Testicular injury
- Nerve injury
- Hydrocele comes back
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.
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 buildup 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 1 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.
At the Care Center
Vital signs will be monitored in a recovery room. Medicine will also be given to manage pain.
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.
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
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 website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hydrocele-in-adults-and-adolescents-18. Accessed September 17, 2020.
Hydrocele in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/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: 1/6/2021