Surgical removal of a swelling around the testicles.
While a hydrocele is not usually painful, it may be uncomfortable because it makes your scrotum bigger and more sensitive. Usually the cause is unknown, but it can be the result of an injury, infection or, rarely, testicular cancer.
Sometimes, the fluid can be removed with a needle and syringe, but surgery is the best way to make sure the hydrocele doesn’t come back.
We pride ourselves on our clinical excellence, you'll be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.
Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.
All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-specialty surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.
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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For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.
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.
Hydrocele surgery is usually done under general anaesthesia, which means you'll be asleep throughout the operation and won't feel any pain. It typically lasts around 20 minutes.
During the procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision in your scrotum and drain the fluid from around your testicle. The resulting space will be sewn together using dissolvable stitches.
The operation is usually carried out as a day-case, so you won't need to stay overnight in hospital.
After the procedure, 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.
If you need them, continue taking painkillers as advised by the hospital. 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.
Wearing close-fitting underwear day and night for a week or two will help to support your scrotum, ease discomfort and prevent swelling.
After a week the wound should be almost pain–free. You can go back to work and resume sexual activity when you feel comfortable, or when your surgeon advises. Dis-solvable stitches will disappear on their own after about a week and your wound should heal fairly quickly. However, if you have any concerns, do not hesitate to contact the hospital.
Once you’re ready to be discharged from hospital, you’ll need to arrange a taxi, friend or family member to take you home as you won’t be able to drive.
Follow your surgeon’s advice about driving. You should not drive until you can make an emergency stop without discomfort.
Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. After hydrocele surgery, we will provide you with all the appropriate medication, advice on what to do and not to do, and follow-up support.
Your nurse will give you a telephone number for the hospital, in case you need to ask for any further advice. If you have any non-dissolvable stitches, you will be given an appointment for the out-patient clinic to have them removed.
Specific complications of this operation are uncommon, but as with any surgery to the scrotum, you may have some temporary difficulty passing urine. A catheter (a tube) may be needed for the first day or so, to drain urine from your bladder into a bag or bottle. There is also a rare chance that the operation causes the spermatic cord to be squeezed too tightly, partially cutting off the blood supply. This could eventually lead to the testicle shrinking.
Call us straight away if you experience any of these symptoms:
Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you.
If you have any questions or concerns, we're here to help.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
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.