Hydrocele (known as processus vaginalis medically) is nothing but fluid accumulation in the scrotum. Here the term hydro means water and “cele” means swelling. The area of scrotum sacs gets filled with water like fluid in hydrocele condition. It is less popular in females due to the anatomy of genitals in them and is found largely in men. The fluid collection can occur in one side or both the sides of the scrotum. Two types of hyrocele are communicating and non-communicating.
Hydrocele is common in newborn child which will fade away after some months. The testicles will descend down thus closing the tube (non-communicative type) from the abdomen. The fluid will be retained for some days or months which will get absorbed on its own. In some children, the tube will not close, forcing the liquid from the abdomen to get collected (communicating hyrocele) in the scrotum causing swelling.
Inguinal hernia can also trigger hydrocele formation in some boys. Hydrocele is also caused due to injury or trauma on the testicles in older males.
The only symptom of hydrocele is bulging testicle due to swelling, which is often painless.
Mere physical examination of the testicles is enough to detect hydrocele in children. It looks like a water balloon that contains a peanut inside. In some cases, trans-illumination is done for detecting the problem. In this procedure, a small lighting is sent into the scrotum to examine the fluid.
In rare cases, presence of hydrocele can be indicative of underlying medical problem and in that case, surgery is done for exploring the real cause. For some adult males, ultrasound scanning is done.
Unless there is pain or discomfort in the testicles, no treatment is required. In case if there is hydrocele with inguinal hernia then it should be operated by surgical procedure. The process is called hydro-celectomy wherein hydrocele problem is corrected by surgery. The patient will be given spinal anesthesia and the surgeon will make an incision on scrotum to drain the fluid inside. After this surgery, you will be asked to wear a big dressing on the area for some days. You should also use scrotal support for few days.
Needle aspiration is another procedure wherein a needle is inserted into the scrotum for draining the liquid.
Most of the congenial hydrocele will get settled on its own within a year or two, without requiring any treatment. In case if the condition continues more than 2 years, surgery is to be done for fixing it.
In rare cases, hydrocele may recur even after surgery.
Some of the complications expected during surgery are blood clot and infection in the scrotum.