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A hydrocele is a build-up of fluid around a testicle. Hydrocele surgery removes or repairs a hydrocele.

What is a hydrocele?

A hydrocele is a build-up of fluid around a testicle. This can appear as a swelling in your scrotum (the bag or sac containing the testicles). You may have the condition on one or both sides of the scrotum.

Hydroceles are most common in children, but they can also develop later in life. For example, a hydrocele may be caused by:

  • An injury to the testicle
  • An infection of the testicle
  • a previous operation on the testicle or in the groin area
  • Another health condition

Usually, hydroceles are painless and disappear without treatment. In some cases, however, a hydrocele can grow bigger and cause pain, swelling and discomfort in your scrotum. You may then be offered a short procedure to remove or repair the fluid-filled sac.

What happens during hydrocele surgery?

The operation is performed under general anaesthetic, which means you are asleep and will not feel any pain. You may also have injections of local anaesthetic to help with the pain after the operation.

The surgeon will make a cut on the groin. The cut is usually made close to a skin crease so that the scar is harder to see.

The surgeon will find the connection, which is stuck onto the blood vessels that supply the testicle and onto the vas (the tube that will carry sperm away from the testicle). The surgeon will peel the connection away from these tubes before tying it off. They will close the skin with dissolvable stitches.

The operation usually takes about an hour.

Highgate Hospital

17-19 View Road, Highgate, London, N6 4DJ

020 8341 4182
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