A spermatocele, also known as a spermatic cyst, is milky or clear fluid containing sac (cyst) that forms in the epididymis. Epididymis is a tube-like structure located at the back of the testicle that stores and carries.
A spermatocele usually doesn't cause pain and is benign (non-cancerous). It may also contain sperm.
Although the exact cause hasn't been identified, spermatocele is believed to occur due to obstruction in one of the sperms-carrying tubes.
Spermatocele is a benign condition that does not cause infertility and does not need any treatment.
However, surgical removal of a spermatocele is necessary if it becomes enlarged and causes discomfort.
In most of the cases, spermatocele is painless and is not associated with the complication. Hence, treatment may not be required.
Over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may be taken if you experience pain.
Surgical treatment: The surgical removal of spermatocele from epididymis is called spermatocele ectomy. You may be given local or general anesthesia for this procedure.
A small cut is made in the scrotum to remove the spermatocele. You may use specially designed undergarment to protect the site of the incision.
After consulting with your doctor, you may:
Apply ice packs on the scrotum to reduce inflammation
Take painkiller for few days
Schedule a follow up after about two weeks
Injury to epididymis or vas deferens (the tube that transports sperm) during surgery may affect your fertility. There is a possibility of recurrence of spermatocele.
Aspiration, with or without sclerotherapy: Aspiration may be performed alone or in combination with sclerotherapy. But this treatment option is rarely opted.
It involves draining the fluid out by using a needle. Aspiration is chosen if spermatocele reappears. Sclerotherapy is usually performed after aspiration.
The liquid inside the sac, after aspiration, is replaced by irritant through injection. The irritating chemical then damages the spermatocele and reduces the incidence of recurrence.
However, this procedure is associated with increased risk of damage to epididymis. So, sclerotherapy is chosen if you do not wish to have children or have passed that phase.
There is probability of reappearance of spermatocele.
Spermatocele cannot be prevented. You should inspect your scrotum at least once in a month to detect any abnormal changes.
If you find any unusual changes, like a lump, in the scrotum, seek medical advice. You may learn to perform self-examination of testicle from your doctor. The ideal time for testicular self-inspection is either during or after a warm bath or shower. Warmth helps to relax the scrotum.
The detection of any abnormal changes becomes easier when the scrotum is relaxed.
Following instructions should be followed for self-examination of scrotum:
Stand in front of the mirror
Check if there is any swelling on the skin of scrotum
Hold each testicle in such a way that your index and middle fingers are under the testicle and thumbs on the top. Glide your thumbs and fingers as if you were to roll the testicle. Remember that the testicles are usually smooth, oval shaped and somewhat firm. Usually, one testicle is slightly larger than the other.
Frequent testicular self-examination can make you aware of any abnormal changes. Your testicles are examined by the doctor when you have a physical exam.
7 Risks and Complications
Age is the main risk factor for spermatocele. As your age increases, your risk of having spermatocele also increases. If your age is between 20 and 50, you are more likely to develop spermatocele.
Usually, spermatocele is not associated with complications. Surgery might be performed if spermatocele causes your pain or discomfort.
Your fertility may be impaired due to injury to epididymis or vas deferens while performing surgery.
Although it is unlikely, recurrence could be another complication of a spermatocele.
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