Epididymal cysts are benign swellings in the epididymis (the sperm-collecting tubes around the top of men’s testicles), which can be surgically removed if they are causing pain. Spermatoceles, small cysts possibly formed from blocked sperm ducts, are treated in the same way.
Usually, you won't need treatment for epididymal cysts because they are harmless. However you may wish to have them removed if they become painful or cause you discomfort (painful or swollen testicles).
The cause of these lumps is not clear but they tend to be more common in middle-aged men, according to clinical sources.
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You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having surgery can potentially be a time of anxiety and worry. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.
The procedure usually takes between 15 and 20 minutes and can be carried out under general anaesthesia, meaning you will be asleep throughout this time or under local anaesthesia with sedative drugs to help you feel relaxed.
During epididymal cyst surgery, your surgeon will make a small incision in your scrotum over the cyst. The cyst is separated from the tissue that surrounds it and is removed. The epididymis and the skin incision are sewn up using dissolvable stitches. Following the procedure, you may also be wearing a close-fitting disposable underwear or a special scrotal support.
The procedure is routinely carried out as a day case, meaning you won't need to stay overnight in hospital.
After the surgery, and if you have had general anaesthesia, you will be taken from the operating theatre to a recovery room, where you will come round from the anaesthesia under close supervision.
After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home.
You might have some pain and discomfort around the wound for a few days. Over the counter medication such as ibuprofen and wearing supportive underwear can help. It's also normal to experience some swelling and fluid discharge from the wound. This is normal and should clear up after a few days. Please continue to take painkillers as advised by the hospital if you need them.
We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.
Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home.
Try to take it easy for the rest of the day. Most men feel ready to go back to work the day after the operation.
Don’t do any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise during the first week after the operation, as this may strain the healing cuts. Wearing close-fitting underwear to support your scrotum in the first week will help ease discomfort and prevent swelling.
Dissolvable stitches will disappear on their own in around seven to ten days. Supporting your scrotum in the first week will help ease discomfort and prevent swelling. You can resume sexual activity when you feel comfortable.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. After epididymal cyst removal, we will provide you with all the appropriate medication, advice on what to do and not to do, and follow-up support.
As with all medical treatments, complications following an epididymal cyst removal can occur but most people are unaffected. Occasionally, bleeding occurs inside the scrotum causing it to swell and become painful. If this happens, you may need to have further surgery.
In very rare cases the operation causes the spermatic cord to be squeezed too tightly, partially cutting off the blood supply. This may cause the testicle to shrink. Also, the vas deferens (the tube that carries sperm from the testicle) may be damaged. These rare complications can cause fertility problems. For this reason it is recommended that the operation should generally be delayed until you have completed your family. It’s also possible for the epididymal cysts to re-occur. Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you experience any of the following symptoms - if the operation site becomes more painful, becomes red, swollen or hot, smells unpleasant or oozes liquid - please call us straight away.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
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The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.