Hydrocele repair

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Who is suitable for a hydrocele repair?

What are the advantages of having a hydrocele repair?

How is a hydrocele repair performed?

What to expect after a hydrocele repair?

Procedure outcomes

Post-Operative Care Instructions




A hydrocele repair is a procedure to correct a hydrocele, which is a build-up of fluid in the scrotum, around the testicle. Hydroceles are very common in newborns and young children, but can also occur in men, typically after 40 years of age. As a hydrocele grows larger, it can cause pain and swelling in the scrotum. Whilst a hydrocele does not usually damage the testicle, it may be very uncomfortable, requiring treatment.

In adults, a hydrocele may develop:

  • As a result of blocked lymphatic flow related to an obstruction in the spermatic cord
  • As a result or inflammation or infection of the epididymis or testicle
  • Due to trauma in the scrotal area
  • Following surgery such as an inguinal hernia
  • In association with some tumours in the area

Who is suitable for a hydrocele repair?

Small hydroceles which are not causing symptoms do not require treatment, however there are some situations in which surgical repair may be considered:

  • The hydrocele has been present for some months and is growing
  • There is swelling on one side of the scrotum
  • There is pain in one or both testicles
  • There is heaviness and discomfort due to the enlargement of the scrotum

What are the advantages of having a hydrocele repair?

Surgical hydrocele repair is a long-term solution for symptomatic patients.

Aspiration (inserting a needle into the scrotum and withdrawing the fluid) is an alternative treatment that may be considered. Following aspiration, a substance may be injected into the scrotum to prevent the hydrocele building up again. Whilst this may be effective initially, in a significant number of patients, the problem returns within a few months and may be complicated by infection.

How is a hydrocele repair performed?

  • The patient is placed under general anaesthetic for the duration of the procedure, which usually takes around half an hour to complete
  • An incision is made in the scrotum
  • The fluid is drained from the hydrocele
  • The hydrocele ‘sac’ (excess tissue) is removed to prevent recurrence
  • The incision is closed using dissolving stitches

What to expect after a hydrocele repair?

  • Hydrocele repair is usually conducted as a day procedure, so in most cases you can go home following your surgery
  • The size of the scrotum will be visibly reduced
  • Some mild pain or discomfort, as well as swelling and bruising may be present for up to 2 weeks
  • In some cases, slight thickening of the scrotum occurs, but this generally reduces over a period of months following the surgery
  • You will need relative rest for a week or so after surgery and avoid any strenuous activity for about 4 weeks to prevent bleeding

Procedure outcomes

Hydrocele repair surgery is an effective long-term solution for correcting fluid build-up around the testicle. Recurrence of hydrocele is possible but uncommon following this procedure. The risk of this is higher in patients with a very large hydrocele.

Post-Operative Care Instructions

What to expect:

  • Bruising may be noticeable on the skin; you may take paracetamol or ibuprofen for discomfort
  • There may be some bleeding at the wound site; you may wear a light pad in the underwear if necessary
  • Swelling may persist for a number of weeks following the procedure

Return to activity:

  • Driving – no driving for one week and until you are pain free
  • Work – you will require some time off work; the duration will depend on your occupation. Generally, you may return to light duties after a week
  • Lifting – avoid heavy lifting for at least 2 weeks following your procedure to avoid bleeding
  • Activities – walking is fine and encouraged following your procedure, however you should avoid strenuous activity for a week following your procedure
  • Sex – avoid for 2 weeks
  • You may shower after 24 hours but avoid soaking in the bath for at least one week
  • Keep your wound dry and clean

Pain Management:

Scrotal discomfort will usually resolve in 1-2 weeks following the procedure. We suggest that you wear supportive underwear to help minimize swelling. You may take ibuprofen or paracetamol if you are experiencing discomfort.


Do my sutures need to be removed?

The suture material that is used to close the wound is dissolvable, but this will take a number of weeks

Head to your nearest hospital emergency room if:

  • You have progressive bruising or swelling (this is uncommon, but may indicate bleeding)
  • Fevers, chills or shakes (may indicate infection)
  • You have pain that cannot be controlled with medication

Follow-Up Information:

Our rooms will arrange a follow-up appointment with your urologist typically 6-8 weeks after the procedure.

Your follow-up appointment is on: ____________________ at __________________.

Contact Information:

If you have any questions or concerns that are not addressed here or in the procedure information available on our website melbourneurologycentre.com.au contact our rooms on 1300 702 811 or [email protected]

Post-Operative information for this procedure can be found here: Hydrocele Post-Operative Care Instructions

Written by Dr. Shekib Shahbaz and Dr. Tony de Sousa


Rioja, J., sanchez-Margallo, F. M., Uson, J., Rioja, L. A., (2011), Surgery Illustrated- Surgical Atlas: Adult hydrocele and spermatocele, BJU International, 107, [https://www.profnatali.it/uploadedfiles/o_1aupaeb471ku9qj1ov21ggpi4ne.pdf], accessed 19/02/21.

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