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more about Hydrocele

  • A hydrocele is a collection of fluid surrounding one of the testicles.  The majority of hydroceles are congenital (present at birth).
  • There are two forms of hydrocele: communicating, and noncommunicating.
    1. In a communicating hydrocele, there is an open connection between the scrotum and the abdominal cavity; this kind of hydrocele increases the risk of developing a hernia.
    2. In a noncommunicating hydrocele, no open connection exists, and there is no increased risk of development of a hernia.
  • The symptoms and therapy are different for the two forms of the disease.

  • Enlargement of one side of the scrotum (both communicating and noncommunicating forms)
  • Variation in size of the enlargement at different times of the day (communicating)

  • On physical examination, the physician can shine a flashlight through the mass in the scrotum to make sure it is fluid-filled and not solid.

  • Treatment for communicating and noncommunicating hydroceles differ.
  • Noncommunicating:
    1. No treatment is necessary; the lesion is observed to make sure it resolves over time as the body reabsorbs the fluid
    2. This can take months to years
  • Communicating
    1. Because of the risk of a hernia, surgery is required to close any connection to the abdominal cavity
    2. Children are often observed until after the first birthday because the risks of the surgery decrease with age.
    3. The unaffected side of the scrotum is usually explored to ensure that there is no risk of hernia or hydrocele developing on that side later

  • Children with communicating hydroceles are at increased risk of a hernia (trapping of part of the intestines in the scrotum).  This can cause damage to the intestines and lead to serious, life-threatening infections.
  • Because of this risk, parents should check the hydrocele of any child who is crying and not consolable, to ensure that it has not markedly and quickly increased in size; this could be the sign of a hernia.  These children should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.

more about Hydrocele

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