Hydrocele is a sac which is filled with fluid that forms around a testicle. Though it can affect males of all ages, it is quite common among babies. Almost 10% of male children are born with Hydrocele. Hydroceles are also caused by injury or inflammation in the scrotum. Inflammation can also be caused by epididymitis infection or some other condition.
Types of HydroceleThere are two types of Hydroceles, communicating & non-communicating.
- Communicating Hydrocele – This type of Hydrocele occurs when the sac surrounding the testicle does not completely close. Communicating Hydrocele allows fluid to flow in & out of the sac.
- Non-Communicating Hydrocele – This occurs when the sac closes after birth but the body is unable to absorb fluid. However, the remaining fluid is absorbed into the body within a years’ time.
Signs & Symptoms of Hydrocele
Normally, Hydrocele does not cause any pain. However, the only symptom is a swollen scrotum. There may also be a feeling of heaviness in scrotum in adult men. Swelling may be worse in the morning than evening in some cases.
Doctors usually perform a physical examination for diagnosing Hydrocele. During exam the doctor will not be able to feel the testicle well due to the presence of fluid in the sac. Doctors will also check for tenderness in scrotum & shine a light through the sac. This procedure is known as transillumination & which allows the doctor to determine presence of fluid. The scrotum will allow light transmission if fluid is present. It will appear to light up with light passing through it. The light will not shine through the scrotum if the swelling is due to solid mass. The doctor may also perform an ultrasound to check for tumors, hernias or any other cause for swelling of the scrotum.
Surgical Treatment for Hydrocele
Hydrocele requires surgery if it is causing discomfort or if it is a Communicating Hydrocele that can lead to hernias. Surgery for removal of Hydrocele is performed under anesthesia. However, it is a day care procedure & patients are able to go home a few hours after the operation. Depending upon the location of Hydrocele, a small incision is made in the abdomen or scrotum for the operation. The Hydrocele is then surgically removed. Following this a large dressing is applied to the incision site. Some patients may also need a drainage tube for a few days depending upon the size & location of Hydrocele.
Recovery Following Hydrocele Surgery
Pain following Hydrocele surgery will take about 7 days time to go away. Doctors would prescribe pain medications if needed. Most patients return to normal activities after a few weeks. Avoid straddling activities like riding a bike for at least three weeks. Other types of strenuous activities should also be avoided during this time. Incision site should be kept clean using showers or sponge baths so as to prevent infection.