A hydrocele is a collection of fluid around the testicle. There may be a variety of causes for this, although most commonly the cause is never found. However, other important causes to exclude are infections of the testicle and also testicular tumours. All patients with a hydrocele should undergo an ultrasound scan of the testes to ensure the underlying testis is normal. Hydroceles can increase to quite dramatic sizes. In most cases, hydroceles can be managed without any treatment and certainly if the hydrocele does not cause any pain or discomfort then this can be managed conservatively without surgery.
In some instances where patients have pain or a hydrocele is very large patients may request to have surgery performed. Surgery is usually performed as a day case or an overnight stay depending upon the size of the hydrocele. We do not advocate aspiration of the hydrocele as this may result in the introduction of infection and also reduce the chances of successful hydrocele repair afterwards.
There are two different types of technique of repairing a hydrocele; the Jadoulay’s repair where the lining of the fluid membrane surrounding the testes is everted around the testicle and stitched, or alternatively a Lord’s plication where the membrane is gathered around the testis. In either case there is a risk, of course, that the hydrocele can recur.
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