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by Carmack A
(Hydrocele Repair)


A hydrocelectomy is a procedure to correct a hydrocele. A hydrocele is a build-up of fluid in the membrane that surrounds the testicle. The fluid can drain down from the abdomen through a channel or build-up over time due to an underlying problem.

Male Anatomy
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Reasons for Procedure

Hydroceles will often go away with time or treatment of cause. A hydrocelectomy may be considered if the hydrocele:

  • Persists or develops in child after first year of life
  • Becomes large enough to threaten testicular blood supply
  • Causes discomfort or affects walking
  • Is associated with a hernia
  • Recurs after other treatment

Possible Complications

Potential problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will review potential problems like:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Testicular injury
  • Nerve injury
  • Hydrocele recurrence
  • Infertility

For adolescents or adults having this procedure, talk to the doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

The doctor may do the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound

Other preparation includes:

  • Arranging for a ride home.
  • Stopping certain medications up to a week before the procedure.
  • Avoiding eating or drinking after midnight prior to the procedure.
  • Discussing allergies and medications or supplements you are currently taking.


General anesthesia is used. You will be asleep during the procedure.

Description of Procedure

An incision is made in either the groin crease or the scrotum, depending on the type of hydrocele. This will allow access the hydrocele and the channel that carries fluid from the abdomen. Fluid is drained from the area. A part or all of the hydrocele sac will be removed. Any damage of the canal between the abdomen and the scrotum will be repaired. A temporary drain may be placed in the skin to prevent a build-up of fluids or infection.

The incision in the skin will then be closed with stitches. A waterproof dressing may be applied to the incision.

How Long Will It Take?

Less than one hour

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. The scrotum may be sore for a few days after surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

Blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored in a recovery room. Recovery will also include medications to manage pain.

During your stay, healthcare providers will take steps to reduce the chance of infection such as:

  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping the incision covered

There are also steps you can take to reduce the chances of infection such as:

  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
  • Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
  • Not allowing others to touch the incision

At Home

There will be swelling and bruising near the incision area and/or scrotum. Some activities will need to be restricted for 2-4 weeks.

Call Your Doctor

It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:

  • Signs of infection, including fever or chills
  • Excessive bleeding from the incision site
  • The incision area opens up
  • Changes in redness, discharge, pain, or drainage
  • Pain that cannot be controlled with medications you were given
  • New or unexpected symptoms

If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.


Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics 

Urology Care Foundation 


Canadian Urological Association 

The College of Family Physicians of Canada 


Hydrocele. Boston Children’s Hospital website. Available at: Accessed September 7, 2017.

Hydrocele. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website. Available at: Accessed September 7, 2017.

Hydrocele. Patient website. Available at: Updated February 26, 2016. Accessed September 7, 2017.

Hydrocele in adolescents and adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  . Updated December 12, 2016. Accessed September 7, 2017.

Hydrocele in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  . UpdatedDecember 12, 2016. Accessed September 7, 2017.

Hydrocelectomy. Surgery Encyclopedia website. Available at: Accessed September 7, 2017.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2018
  • Update Date: 09/07/2017