What is a Hydrocele?
A hydrocele is a scrotal swelling due to an abnormal collection of fluid in the naturally occurring membranes in front of the testis. In adults, it usually occurs due to a defect in the reabsorption of the fluid, which is produced normally by the membranes.
Hydroceles are not dangerous and are not usually a sign of any serious problem. However, they can sometimes grow and become uncomfortable or bothersome.
Why do I need a Hydrocele Repair?
There are a number of reasons why a hydrocele repair might be recommended:
- The fluid collection is large enough to be causing pain or discomfort.
- The fluid collection is large enough to be a nuisance or look unsightly.
- Recurrent infections.
How is it performed?
The operation is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. If you are fit and well, it can be done as a day-case procedure, which means that you will be allowed home 3-4 hours after you have recovered from your general anaesthetic.
A short cut is made on the scrotum over the swelling. The fluid is drained and some stitches are put inside to stop the fluid returning. Finally, some skin stitches are used to close the skin edges together.
A dressing is put over the wound. You may also have a bandage going around both testicles to help prevent any swelling (this can be removed after 24 hours).
What are the risks, consequences and alternatives associated with having a hydrocele repair?
Most procedures are straightforward; however as with any surgical procedure there is a chance of side effects or complications.
Occasional (1 in 10 to 1 in 50)
- Blood collection around the testes (haematoma), which resolves slowly or requires further surgery.
- Possible infection of the testes or incision requiring antibiotics.
- Recurrence of fluid collection.
- Chronic pain in the testicle or scrotum.
Alternatives to hydrocele repair
- Leave hydrocele alone.
- Aspirate fluid collection with needle – will normally recur after a few months.
Post-operative care and discharge plan
After the effects of your general anaesthetic pass, you may eat and drink. An absorbent non-adherent dressing will be applied to the wound, which can be removed after 24 hours. You are advised to wear 2 pairs of supportive underwear. For the next 7 days, you may shower and lightly wash the area of the wound with water. You will have dissolvable stitches in the wound. When the stitches start to dissolve, the wound can look gluey. Do not worry about this, once the stitched have fallen out the scrotal wound will be hardly noticeable. You should generally be able to return to normal activity after about 1 week.
Contact your Surgeon if you have any of these problems after surgery:
- Fever (with a temperature of more than 38°C) or chills.
- Heavy bleeding from the incision.
- Increasing swelling of the scrotum or swelling around the surgical sites.
- Increasing pain.
- Redness spreading from incision points.
- Any other concerns regarding your surgery.
Please ring the rooms to make a follow up appointment in one month.
Do not hesitate to ring the rooms earlier if any concerns or questions.
This information is intended as a general educational guide and may not apply to your situation. You must not rely on this information as an alternative to consultation with your urologist or other health professional.
Not all potential complications are listed, and you must talk to your urologist about the complications specific to your situation.