A hydrocele is a collection of fluid within the natural covering of the testicle. This layer is like a plastic bag that follows the testis into the scrotum in normal foetal development. Hydroceles can be present at birth because the 'plastic bag' (tunica vaginalis) doesn't close properly following the descent of the testis. However, usually they appear later in life because of irritation of the tunica. This can be caused by local trauma or infection. In the majority of men we do not know the cause.
Normally you only need to have your hydrocele repaired if you experience symptoms such as scrotal heaviness or fullness of the scrotum. In some men the hydrocele becomes large, like the size of an orange, and awkward. I will discuss the problems your hydrocele is causing with you and will help guide you as to whether surgery can help to correct the problem. The procedure is usually performed under a general anaesthetic and is a day case operation. The procedure itself takes about 30 minutes and is carried out through an incision in the scrotum. The fluid is drained and the sac repaired to prevent the fluid collecting there again. Absorbable stitch material is used.
If you do not feel significantly affected by your hydrocele, you could opt not to have surgery and take painkillers as and when you need them. You could also support your scrotum with tight-fitting underwear or a scrotal support (jock strap). I do not advise needle drainage of the fluid from the hydrocele as there is a risk of infection.
A haematoma may occur, this is a collection of blood in your scrotum. It usually settles down by itself as the blood gets absorbed like a bruise, but in some patients (less than 1%) they need a second operation to let the bruise out. Rarely an infection may occur. If you develop a fever you should seek medical attention. The hydrocele may reoccur however this occurs in less than 5% of cases. If you have difficulty passing water before surgery, it is possible that the anaesthetic may cause you difficulty passing water. I will check that you are passing water well before you are discharged. However if you have problems at home you should contact Dr Meyer for help and advice.
It is normal to feel some pain after an operation in a sensitive area. I will use some local anaesthetic to numb the area after your operation, but the effect of this will gradually wear off over four hours. I will give you enough pain relief to take home with you, and you should take this regularly for the prescribed period of time.
After scrotal surgery you may need to take a week off work. You will usually need to wear a scrotal support or jock strap during the day for one week. You will need to keep the wound dry for one day. After this you will be able to shower as normal. During your recovery phase at home you should not need any other special care. However as a precaution I advise no heavy lifting for two weeks.
Dr Meyer will write to both you and your GP confirming your follow up arrangements after your Hydrocele Repair. The cost of the post-operative appointment is included in your initial surgical fee. If you have any questions concerning your care after your surgery please contact Dr Meyer's rooms on 07 38834431 or 0488 378016.