What is a hydrocoele?
This is a collection of fluid around the testicle. Small hydrocoeles are common, and don’t need treatment. Larger ones can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, and if so, can be treated.
Most often, a cause is not evident. Very occasionally, they can be present along with a problem with the testicle, particularly if the hydrocoele suddenly appears).
How are they treated?
The operation to treat a hydrocoele is performed under general anaesthetic. A cut is made in the scrotum, and the fluid-filled sac is freed from the other tissues. The sac is incised, and fluid is drained. The sac is then turned in on itself, and stitched up with absorbable sutures. This prevents the fluid from re-accumulating.
After the operation
If the hydrocoele is very large, a temporary drain may be inserted and removed the next day, but mostly this is not necessary. You should be able to leave hospital the same day as the operation.
For al patients, a tight dressing is put on in the operating theatre, and this can be removed 4 hours later.
Potential side effects and complications
All procedures have the potential for side effects. Although these complications are well recognised, the majority of patients do not have problems after a procedure.
Risks of the anaesthetic need to be discussed with the anaesthetist who will be looking after you during the operation, and who will visit you beforehand.
There are specific risks with this surgical procedure, and these will be discussed with you before your procedure. As a guide to complement that one-on-one discussion with your surgeon, these include:
- Swelling of the scrotum lasting that may last for several days
- Discomfort requiring pain tablets
- Recurrence of the hydrocele
- Blood collection around the testes which resolves slowly or requires another operation to drain it.
- Possible infection of the incision or the testis requiring antibiotics or another operation to drain the infection.
- Long-term pain in the testicle or scrotum.
If you have marked swelling or pain, or develop a fever, please contact the practice, or go to your nearest emergency department.
This information is intended as an educational guide only, and is here to help you as an additional source of information, along with a consultation from your urologist. The information does not apply to all patients.
Not all potential complications are listed, and you must talk to your urologist about the complications specific to your situation.