Hydrocelectomy is a surgical procedure that is aimed to treat or remove hydrocele. A hydrocele is a fluid-filled balloon that is formed around the testicle. It is a normal thing for males to have a thin layer of fluid around the testicle. This fluid is periodically produced and drained to prevent its accumulation. If the tissue responsible for drainage of the fluid is damaged in a male adult, the fluid accumulates on the scrotal sac will cause it to enlarge with time. The cause of hydrocele is different in newly born males. In children, hydroceles result from persistent and previous abnormal communication between the abdominal cavity (peritoneal) and the scrotum.
The hydroceles can be discovered by the patient himself. They may not display any change for years, but could have a sudden growth become more cumbersome. Rather than the patient’s cosmetic and comfort reasons, there is a medical need to surgically operate a hydrocele. Your doctor will diagnose a hydrocele through physical examination, or through ultrasound examination. In young adults or adolescent males, it is recommendable to have an ultrasound examination since testicular cancer can sometimes come with a hydrocele.
Why Should I Have Hydrocelectomy?
Hydroceles in newborns will go away with time. However, this is a different case for adult males with hydroceles. In newborns, hydroceles will disappear before they reach the age of two years old.
Your doctor may recommend hydrocelectomy if your hydroceles:
- Are infected
- Becomes very large
- Cause problems with testicular blood flow
- Are painful and cause discomfort
- For cosmetic purposes
- Hydrocelectomy is also performed if there is hernia
Preparation for Hydrocelectomy
The following are steps that both the doctor and patient should take in order to prepare for hydrocelectomy:
- Anesthesia should be administered to help reduce pain during the operation.
- Fluids and food should not be consumed 8 to 12 hours before the operation.
- Inform your doctor if you are taking any medications such as blood thinners or anti-inflammatory drugs. You should cease taking these drugs for one week before the procedure.
- You should also let your doctor know if you are allergic to any surgical medications such as latex and anesthesia.
- You are required to have a quality scrotal support such as a jock strap or a perfect pair of jockey shorts to use at home after the operation. You will be required to wear them for a few weeks after the surgery to ensure that you are comfortable. This support will help you reduce pain and swelling.
- You are also required to sign a consent form. This is to make sure that you understand how the procedure is performed and the complications associated with it.
How Is Hydrocelectomy Performed?
In case you have pain in the scrotum, your doctor will give you some pain relievers to help treat this symptom of hydroceles. However, in some cases, the hydroceles do not clear on their own with time. This calls for a surgery known as a hydrocelectomy.
There are two major types of hydrocelectomy surgery, open and laparoscopic. Hydrocelectomy is usually performed as an outpatient procedure requiring no special precautions. The type of surgery performed will depend on whether the hydrocele is complicated or not.
Open hydrocelectomy is always performed under a general anesthesia to keep the patient asleep through the procedure. After the patient falls into a deep sleep, the surgical procedure involves the following steps:
- The surgeon makes a small incision on the scrotum or the groin to drain out the fluid through suction.
- The hydrocele sac is completely removed and then the incision is closed with sutures.
- In cases where the patient has a hernia, removal of the hydrocele sac will treat it as well.
Laparoscopic hydrocelectomy is a less invasive surgical procedure also used to repair or treat hydroceles. The procedure is achieved with use of an instrument known as a laparoscope. This is a camera-tipped, lightened, and tube-like instrument that is inserted through an incision to Monitor the operation. A laparoscope is attached to a computer monitor where the surgeon can view images of your scrotum through the operation. Other instruments used in repair of hydroceles are inserted through the laparoscope or other incisions.
Recovery from Hydrocelectomy
After the operation is complete, you will be taken into a recovery room for a short time before going home. You may feel some discomfort where the incisions were made. You may be allowed to shower a day after the operation but no swimming or baths. Some doctors may recommend taking a warm bath a few days after the surgery. Below are some tips to remember after hydrocelectomy:
- You should keep off strenuous physical activities for about a week after the procedure.
- You should apply ice packs to relieve pain from the incisions. Pain reliever may also be given for the same purpose.
- You should not lift heavy loads
- You should take care of the sutures which come off by themselves two weeks after the operation.
The outcomes of hydrocelectomy are not immediate. It may take you days or weeks to notice a change. The scrotal tissue swells after the procedure and it is very difficult to tell whether the procedure was successful or not.
Just like any other type of surgery, hydrocelectomy is associated with some complications or side effects. They may be immediate or delayed. These complications include:
- Chronic pain – Chronic pain may be experienced on the operation site but will disappear with time. In case it becomes persistent, further attention is required.
- Infection – Infection is very possible after this operation. It can be prevented or cured with antibiotics.
- Hematoma – This is characterized by blood clots, swelling, and bruising of the site of operation.
- Hydrocele recurrence – Hydroceles may return, though this is unusual with formal hydrocelectomy.
- Testicular loss – Though testicular loss can occur, it is very uncommon for such an occurrence to take place.
Hydrocelectomy is a surgical procedure that is aimed to repair persistence hydroceles and prevent their recurrence. The whole procedure has lower risks of future complications and is pain free.
- A hydrocelectomy is performed to correct a hydrocele and prevent its recurrence.
- The outcomes of hydrocelectomy are not immediate. It may take you days or weeks to notice a change.
- In newborns, hydroceles will disappear before they reach the age of 2 years old.