What is a Hydrocele?

A hydrocele is a collection of fluid in the space in front of and around, the testicle. It results from a communication with the abdominal cavity, and the naturally produced abdominal fluid drains down to the communication, a type of hernia, and collects around the testicle.

Hydroceles are very common at birth, and often resolve in the first year or 2 of life. In infants, hydroceles tend to require surgery when they become quite large. Occasionally, hydroceles present later in childhood with an increased swelling in the scrotum. This is characteristic on examination and may have features of increasing size during the day with reduction overnight, when the child is lying down.

The treatment for hydrocele is herniotomy, during which the connection with the abdominal cavity is located, separated from the blood vessels to and from the testicle, and simply tied off. A small inguinal incision is utilised, and the operation takes about 20 minutes. It is a day case procedure. Children make a good and complete recovery from this very successful procedure.