Hydrocele

Alternative Names

Processus vaginalis; Patent processus vaginalis

Definition of Hydrocele

A hydrocele is a fluid-filled sack along the spermatic cord within the scrotum.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Hydroceles are common in newborn infants.

Symptoms

The main symptom is a painless, swollen testicle , which feels like a water balloon. A hydrocele may occur on one or both sides.

Signs and tests

During a physical exam, the doctor usually finds an swollen scrotum that is not tender. Often, the testicle cannot be felt because of the surrounding fluid. The size of the fluid-filled sack can sometimes be increased and decreased by pressure to the abdomen or the scrotum.

Treatment

Hydroceles are usually not dangerous, and they are usually only treated when they cause discomfort or embarrassment, or if they are large enough to threaten the testicle’s blood supply.

Expectations (prognosis)

Generally, a simple hydrocele goes away without surgery. If surgery is necessary, it is a simple procedure for a skilled surgeon, and usually has an excellent outcome.

Review

Erik T. Goluboff, MD, Professor, Department of Urology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 12/15/2010

Male reproductive anatomy
Hydrocele

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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