Hydrocele

  • Alternative Names

    Processus vaginalis; Patent processus vaginalis


    Treatment

    Hydroceles are usually not dangerous, and they are usually only treated when they cause discomfort or embarrassment, or if they are large enough to threaten the testicle's blood supply.

    One option is to remove the fluid in the scrotum with a needle, a process called aspiration. However, surgery is generally preferred. Aspiration may be the best alternative for people who have certain surgical risks.

    Sclerosing (thickening or hardening) medications may be injected after aspiration to close off the opening. This helps prevent the future build up of fluid.

    Hydroceles associated with an inguinal hernia should be repaired surgically as quickly as possible. Hydroceles that do not go away on their own over a period of months should be evaluated for possible surgery. A surgical procedure, called a hydrocelectomy, is often performed to correct a hydrocele.


    Support Groups


    Expectations (prognosis)

    Generally, a simple hydrocele goes away without surgery. If surgery is necessary, it is a simple procedure for a skilled surgeon, and usually has an excellent outcome.


    Complications

    Complications may occur from hydrocele treatment.

    Risks related to hydrocele surgery may include:

    • Blood clots
    • Infection
    • Injury to the scrotal tissue or structures

    Risks related to aspiration and sclerosing may include:

    • Infection
    • Fibrosis
    • Mild-to-moderate pain in the scrotal area
    • Return of the hydrocele

    Calling your health care provider

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of hydrocele (to rule out other causes of a testicle lump).

    Acute pain in the scrotum or testicles is a surgical emergency. If enlargement of the scrotum is associated with acute pain, seek medical attention immediately.