Hydrocelectomy is a surgical procedure to treat, repair, or remove hydrocele and prevent a recurrence. A hydrocele is the accumulation of fluids in the fluid-filled sac located inside the scrotum. It can occur on one or both regions of the scrotum but can sometimes heal without treatment. But if it becomes large, it can cause pain, discomfort, and swelling in the scrotum.
Surgery is thus essential to address this issue and preventing it from advancing further. It involves the removal of the fluid, hence shrinking the size of the sac with fluid. Doctors usually recommend hydrocelectomy if the condition doesn’t improve with time or affect young children after their first year since birth.
Causes of Hydrocele Condition
A hydrocele is a common medical condition that mostly affects newborn males. Usually, the testicles move down from the abdomen towards the scrotum located in a tract during fetal development. This tract is referred to as the processus vaginalis.
But sometimes, the tract fails to close properly once the testicles descend. This causes the fluid from the abdomen to flow and fill the scrotum. Usually, this situation can resolve after a few weeks or months. However, it requires close and regular monitoring to ensure that it doesn’t enlarge or cause more complications. A pediatrician, primary care provider, or pediatric urologist can help manage the issue.
While a hydrocele is more common in children, it can also affect adults. Hydroceles in men can occur due to an injury, blockage of the sperm cord or scrotum, inflammation in the reproductive system, injury, or an infection. Approximately 1 percent of the adult men suffer from hydroceles.
Doctors can diagnose hydroceles by thoroughly examining the scrotum. The first diagnostic step is to ensure that the patient doesn’t have a testicular torsion condition. This is whereby the testicles rotate abnormally, losing the normal blood supply.
Testicular torsion is a painful chronic health issue that requires immediate surgery. This is to avoid the need of having to remove the testicle. Furthermore, this condition is more common among young male children during their early teen years.
On the other hand, a hydrocele is associated with scrotum enlargement but doesn’t cause any pain. Since the fluid that causes swelling is normally clear, shining a flashlight via the scrotum displays the highlights of the testes' structure.
The use of a light source often shows that the underlying issue is a hydrocele. However, the doctor might have to run more tests to clarify the condition further. For instance, they can use an ultrasound to help confirm the diagnostic results. This also helps rule out various possible health problems. If the patient has an infection or inflammation, then the doctor can perform urine and blood tests.
When to Consider Hydrocelectomy
At times, a hydrocele can develop in the scrotum but doesn’t result in any health condition or cause discomfort. In such a case, you can use over the counter medications such as anti-inflammatory pain relievers. Mostly, the condition can subside within six months.
However, if hydrocele continues to enlarge, then a surgical procedure to repair it might be necessary. Some of the symptoms that might indicate that you need to undergo hydrocelectomy include;
- Chronic pain in one or both testicles
- Swelling in one section of the scrotum
- An uncomfortable and embarrassing heaviness that results due to scrotum enlargement
How to Prepare For Hydrocelectomy
Before undergoing hydrocelectomy surgery, the surgeon will first ask for preoperative tests and examinations, including blood and urine tests. After that, they will discuss with you what the surgical procedure entails and how it works.
Depending on the surgery and outcome, the surgeon might have to implant a tube. This is to help drain fluids for some time after the procedure. The tube also prevents infection and accumulation of fluid in the scrotum following surgery.
In case you are taking any dietary supplements and medications, then ensure that you inform the doctor. This is because certain drugs or supplements can affect the natural blood-clotting purpose, resulting in bleeding. It’s also essential to notify the doctor if you have any allergic reactions to any medication or have a medical record of excessive bleeding.
Finally, you may be required to refrain from taking certain medications such as warfarin, aspirin, and clopidogrel. This is because such drugs can interfere with normal blood clotting function.
How Hydrocelectomy Procedure Is Done
If you are experiencing pain in the scrotum, the doctor can administer pain relievers to help cure such hydrocele-related symptoms. While most conditions usually improve on their own after some time, a surgical procedure is necessary if the situation persists.
When it comes to the infants, the procedure is done to close up the processus vaginalis. In a normal situation, the processus vaginalis usually closes on its own before the child is born.
On the other hand, adult men might require surgery if the swelling associated with hydrocele caused discomfort or pain. Also, an operation is necessary if hydrocele becomes large, threatening the functionality of other genital tissues.
Typically, hydrocelectomy procedure is an outpatient procedure. The first step involves administering general anesthesia to prevent pain and make you completely unconscious during the entire process. Also, the surgeon will insert a tube into the throat to help regulate breathing. An intravenous line can as well be placed in the arm. This helps supply fluid and vital medication that might be required during the procedure.
Once everything is set, the surgeon will start by creating a small incision or cut. It can be in the scrotum or the groin near the scrotum. He or she will then uses suction to drain the hydrocele carefully.
Alternatively, the surgeons can perform hydrocele repair as a minimally invasive procedure. They can use a laparoscope, which is a thin tube with a small camera at the tip. This enables them to view the inner part of the scrotum through a computer. They will then insert a small operating tool via the incision and perform the procedure.
After draining out the fluid through the suction, the surgeon will close the channel to the canal between the scrotum and abdominal cavity. They will also remove the hydrocele sac and suture the incision.
What to Expect After the Procedure
The entire hydrocele surgery usually takes around 30 minutes to one hour. If necessary, the surgeon can implant a small tube in the scrotum to help drain the fluids.
Once the surgery is complete, you will be transferred into the recovery room. Here, the healthcare team will monitor you until you are strong enough to go home. It’s normal to feel nauseated and sedated, especially if you had general anesthesia. Your throat might also be sore due to the installed breathing tube.
Depending on your overall health condition after the surgery, you might return home on that same day. You may also require someone to help drive you back home. While at home, you should expect soreness and swelling for the first three to four days. During this period, the scrotum is still bandaged; hence you can use jockstrap support to ease pain and discomfort.
After a few days or weeks, you should return to the hospital for a checkup. Through this, the doctor will examine the healing process and check for the signs of infections and any other possible complications.
Alternatively, applying cold packs for at least 5 to 10 minutes is essential to ease pain and swelling. Be sure to ask your doctor how to shower to avoid soaking the bandage. Also, you should avoid sitting in a hot tub or swimming before the wound completely heals. Sometimes, the scrotum can be swollen for up to a month before it finally stabilizes.
To ensure a successful recovery, avoid lifting heavy weights and engaging in vigorous activities or exercises. The doctor will also advise you not to have intercourse for at least six weeks and avoid driving while still using sedating pain drugs.
Risks and Complications of Hydrocelectomy
Hydrocelectomy is a relatively safe procedure with just a few manageable complications. However, you should immediately see your doctor if you experience infections signs, including;
- Increased pain in the scrotum
- Redness around the area
- Increased swelling
- Warmth feeling around the surgical area
- Foul-smelling fluid oozing from the surgical wound
Other rare but possible hydrocelectomy complications that might are during or after the procedure include;
- Formation of blood clots
- Negative reaction to anesthesia
- Excessive bleeding
- Damage around the testicle area, which could alter fertility
Hydrocelectomy refers to a surgical procedure to address hydroceles condition, the fluid-filled sac around the testicle. It’s one of the successful operations associated with minimal complications and risks. Sometimes, another hydrocele can develop after the surgery, and an additional process might be necessary. However, this is not always common.
CloudHospital is determined to helping male infants born with hydroceles and adults who develop the condition. It works with a team of medical experts who have skills in diagnosing, repairing, and preventing the recurrence of hydroceles in the future. Furthermore, they utilize state-of-the-art equipment to ensure a successful procedure.